by Bonnie H. Chuen
University of La Verne students have filed complaints against Campus Link, the University’s residence hall phone system.
Students charge that the system has billed them for phone service they say they did not sign up for and charged them for local calls made in the area. Also, commuter students received bills even though they do not require on campus phone service.
The first bill from Campus Link arrived in student mail boxes on Thursday, Oct. 3. Numerous complaints were filed on that day to senior Clara Arcadia, Campus Link student representative and the Customer Service Department at Campus Link.
Concerns were raised as to how Campus Link acquired the information to bill the students who did not sign up for service.
“They must have gotten them from last year’s list,” said Arcadia. However, a number of students who were billed did not sign up for service and did not have phone service the year before from Fujitsu either.
“I have not lived on campus in two years,” said senior Jill Perkins, who was also billed for calls before school was in session. She was billed for 10 days between Aug. 1-10.
“When I tried to call them, I was put on hold for a half hour. It’s just a huge hassle for me,” she said.
According to Derek Vergara, director of housing, a database of information on the residents of ULV was sent to Campus Link, including names, phone numbers, addresses and Social Security numbers. The information came from cards residents had to fill out during registration for housing.
“As director of housing, and working with phone service here, I thought it was information that they needed to have,” said Vergara.
“We really work hard not to give information out, but we gave them the database because they are a part of campus housing,” said Vergara.
According to the Rights and Responsibilities Section of the 1996-97 University catalog, “At the discretion of the ULV officials, the following directory information will be provided: student’s name, major field of study, dates of attendance and degrees and awards received.”
According to the catalog, directory information does not include Social Security numbers, home addresses or phone numbers.
When asked about whether information outside what was listed under directory information can be handed out to businesses, Dr. Loretta Rahmani, dean of student affairs, said, “The common ruling is no, but there may be extenuating circumstances.”
“In order to get a database for [a] school, the way we fill our database is from the school’s database from housing,” said Marlene Milliman, national director of customer service for Campus Link, “We print the PIN (personal identification number) before you get there.
“I also know that if you [as students] didn’t provide that information, it came from the school,” Milliman said, when asked how Campus Link received information from students who did not consent to service.
“Students were billed for local calls. I really enjoy paying for calls on campus by dialing 9-392…,” said sophomore Nate Petkewich, an Oaks resident.
“They’re doing investigations right now. They didn’t know those local calls didn’t need a PIN number to go through. We’re doing it through MCI and how they’re working it. I thought they were going to do it that way, but I guess not,” said Arcadia in response to how local calls were billed.
According to Milliman, “All of the local call billing should not be there. Anybody who was billed will be credited.”
According to junior Joel Harworth, resident assistant at the Oaks, his residents complained about being charged for other people’s phone calls.
“They were supposed to give us phone tutorials by the Campus Link representative, but since no one showed, we [as R.A.’s] had no idea what to tell our residents,” said sophomore Scott Newbould, resident assistant at the Oaks.
Complaints were also filed by students who did not reside on campus. Freshman Jennifer Blake was billed $22.25. Blake is a commuter who has never lived on campus.
“It doesn’t even say who I called,” she said.
Another commuter student, junior Stephanie Osborne, was billed $29.69 for calls dated between Aug. 1-31, before school was in session.
“I don’t know why commuter students were billed,” said Vergara.
According to Vergara, Campus Link bought out Fujitsu and was under a strict time schedule for the installation of Campus Link on the ULV campus. The transition took place in late summer, which may have added to some of the confusion as far as the first billing was concerned.
“Campus Link bought Fujitsu. The transition had been really quick, as fall was coming around. They really tried to do a good job. Students were hired to help during the transition,” said Vergara.
According to Troy Schutte, supervisor of customer service for Campus Link, some of the confusion may have been “Because we’re in the process of the move from Connecticut to Ann Arbor, [Michigan]. Without a doubt, there is miscommunication.”
Campus Link in response to student complaints is sending a representative to deal with the problems. The representative who was advertised to arrive on Oct. 10, will actually be on campus on Oct. 17-18.