The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Cell phone usage ban looming

    Students may still bring cell phones to class, but usage in class may be placed on the same level as tobacco use under a new policy proposed in the Robert Holland Faculty Senate.
    The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported Jan. 24 that the policy would ban students from taking cell phones to class. However, the ban pertains to cell phone usage, not possession, Faculty Senate president Mark Goodman said.
    Goodman said the policy will not ban cell phones. “There will be nothing in this bill that will be different than what’s in practice,” Goodman said.
    He said the policy will place the use of cell phones in class on the same level as the use of tobacco products in class.
    Walter Diehl, who represents the College of Arts and Sciences on the Faculty Senate, also compared the cell phone usage in class to tobacco usage in class, pointing out that tobacco possession is not banned.
    Diehl said students and others confused about the issue should have spoken to him about it. “The idea that we would want to take away cell phones is positively absurd,” he said.
    “I am amazed by this because everything that I have written, including what’s in the syllabus, the letter I sent to the Faculty Senate and everything I’ve said on public radio, has all included one word, which is ‘use,'” Diehl added.
    Diehl wants to ban cell phone use in class because it distracts students and professors, he said. “I have had students whose cell phone went off, and they picked it up and answered it,” he said.
    Diehl initiated the move toward a ban on cell phone usage but has not seen the final legislation. He said he believes it states that inappropriate use of cell phones, text messaging and pagers will be prohibited in classrooms.
    He said teachers may decide for themselves how to enforce the policy. “This change will generate a university-wide policy that will support that,” he said.
    Student Association Senator Cory Carter initially believed the cell phone ban applied to cell phone possession in class rather than cell phone use. He passed a resolution in the SA Senate opposing such a ban.
    “There had been some talk among people that the Faculty Senate was going to try to ban possession of cell phones in class,” Carter said.
    His resolution did not advocate cell phone usage but the possession of cell phones in class, Carter added.
    Carter said his resolution agrees with the legislation in the Faculty Senate. “If it’s in the handbook, teachers have more rights to enforce it,” he said.
    Carter said most students know better than to use cell phones in class. “Most of us are mature enough that we can respect the rights of others to have a good learning environment,” he said.
    The SA Senate passed the resolution in case a total ban on cell phones surfaces, he said.
    Diehl agreed most students refrain from using cell phones in class. “I haven’t talked to a single student that objects to a prohibition of inappropriate use of cell phones in the classroom,” he said.
    Current disruption from cell phones remains infrequent and a minor problem, but the university must keep pace with technology and prevent cell phone use from becoming a bigger problem in the future, Diehl said.
    The cell phone usage ban began when Diehl wrote a letter to the Senate last fall, he said. The issue was assigned to the university resources committee. Next, the committee prepared a report, which should be presented Friday. The Senate will then vote on the issue, Diehl said.
    If the issue passes in the Faculty Senate, it will advance through a series of councils and eventually reach the desk of MSU President Charles Lee.

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    Cell phone usage ban looming