New phone issues frustrate residents

Campus Times
October 3, 1997


by Michelle Thornton
Staff Writer

Rather than dealing with billing issues that occurred last year, University of La Verne students are having to deal with the technical side of phone calls.

Students have complained that their long distance calls go through, but as their conversation is in progress, the phone suddenly cuts out, forcing many students to make their costly calls again and again.

Joel Perez, who is the University's liaison to CampusLink, said that the problems students have been experiencing are attributed to the t1 card that is located in Founders Hall.

The card was defective and was responsible for the disconnecting While waiting for the new card to arrive the existing calls had to be rerouted in order to avoid the problem further. The problem has reportedly been fixed.

Despite the t1 card problem, some students have found that CampusLink representatives are rude to them when they call with questions regarding their bills or service in general.

Sophomore Carissa Callahan said, "They give us the run around and never give you a straight answer."

Callahan made attempts to remedy the situation through communication with CampusLink and found the service to be unpleasant. She commented that she feels it is because of her age that she is treated so badly.

"It is because I am young, they think that my questions are stupid and a bother to them," she said.

Callahan's reason for that is that when her mother Sharon, placed a call, unlike Callahan, her mother's call was returned the next day.

Derek Vergara, director of housing and residential life, said that he will not put up with poor customer service. He feels it is unnecessary and voiced his opinion at a meeting with CampusLink before school started where Vergara, Sheila Degraw, director of support services, Loretta Rahmani, dean of student affairs, Perez and Luanne Wilson, a CampusLink representative to discuss our contract.

"We sat down with a list of last year's complaints, from A to O, and said these will not happen this year. I told them that they are not meeting the demands of the students and we will not tolerate it," said Vergara.

Vergara's theory on the CampusLink problems stem from phone company changes. He says every year since he has been director, the University has changed phone companies. Therefore, he believes every year students experience the initial glitches of the transition to a new company and their new billing and their new policies.

Vergara hopes that this year, as residents stay with CampusLink, the problems will iron themselves out. Some students have doubts.

"My freshman year, we had a company by the name of NCI. My sophomore year, it was Fujitsu, the company that bought out NCI. Well, guess who bought out Fujitsu, my junior year? CampusLink," said senior Par Nag.

How does CampusLink compare?

"It is just as bad as the others, but there is more static this year," said Nag.

Vergara also said that he is putting together a task force to research other phone companies. He wants the students to have a say in the decision that is made. He is not afraid to change companies again, but he said he wants to do it with ethics and integrity and not prematurely.

"I realize it is frustrating. We need to let the students be apart of the process," said Vergara.

The task force should be assembled by the end this month and will start working immediately. Although Vergara said that he would like to stay with CampusLink at least until the semester to see how things progress.

On-campus students are scheduled to receive bills early this month. A CampusLink representative will be on campus later in the month to help with questions or concerns.