Phone rates anger residents

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By Chieu Luu

Ryerson students living in residence say it’s not fair they’re paying regular Bell rates for their long-distance calls and want Ryerson’s Computing and Communications (CCS) to do something about it.

Annie Lam, a first-year fashion student who lives in Pitman Hall, pays 38 cents a minute during the day when she calls home to Ottawa.  She gets a 35 per cent discount after 6 p.m. and a 60 per cent discount after 11 p.m., but Lam says the discounts offered aren’t cheap enough.  “I’d definitely like a $20 per month flat rate,” she says.

Shana McDonald, president of the ninth floor, has heard similar complaints from students living on her floor.

“A lot of them are really mad that they can’t get a $20 per month plan like their friends who live in residence at U of T, because Ryerson operates on an extension system,” she says.

Residents’ concerns about the long distance rates were addressed last Wednesday night when the head of CCS, Renee Lemieux, and tow other representatives met with floor reps from Pitman Hall.

But after the meeting, Katherine Gauthier, 10th floor president, says the answer they got from CCS is nothing can be done.

“They told us that they are not going to do anything about long distance, because they can’t,” she explains.  “Our long distance plan is through Ryerson and if they were to do something, it would affect the entire campus.”

But June Husain, supervisor of computing administration for CCS, says the department has not made any decisions in regards to the long distance rates.

“We’re still in negotiations with students,” she says.  “Wednesday’s meeting was our first meeting, and it was to get everybody’s views.”

Husain says there will be more meetings with the students before any decisions are made.  She says students can try to get a calling plan on their own.

“The students are fee to go out and choose whatever provider they want, but they to work out the details with the third party,” she says.

But MacDonald says that’s easier than it sounds because most companies don’t have plans to accommodate extension operated residences.

“I called Sprint, but they said I can’t join their plan because of the extension system.”

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