What do Flacco, Biden, Christie, Carper and Delle Donne all have in common?
Published: Monday, October 14, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2013 23:10
University of Delaware alumni are not allowed access to the WiFi. This came as a surprise to me when I was in town for the football game against Wagner College. I thought I could work on my master’s thesis at the Morris Library that Friday. I thought wrong. “Wireless internet is only for active students and faculty,” I was told. “We get complaints all the time from alumni. You may want to talk to Alumni Relations.”
I did. After reaching out directly to the President’s Office and Office of Alumni Relations, my concern landed in the lap of Susan Brynteson, Vice Provost and May Morris University Librarian. Mrs. Brynteson informed me that alumni did not have access to the wireless network, that this would be “administratively untenable,” and that it “would detract from the mission” of the library.
She suggested that I ask the same question of the American University library, anticipating their response would be similar. She was mistaken. At American University, alumni and guests are able to get 24-hour access to wifi with a driver’s license. It was that simple.
Some may argue that I am making a big deal out of nothing, but I like to think how you treat your alumni is important. I love the University of Delaware. I graduated in 2008, but the relationship between the university and my family extends much deeper than my own story.
My grandfather, Walter Kittle ’49, came to the university by way of a promise made in a foxhole in Belgium. “Verdell Short and Charlie Griffith and I, and one other man who didn’t live, said, ‘If we get back home, we’ll go to school together,’” he said in an interview for “The Messenger” in 1996, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the G.I. Bill at the university. Short ’48, and Griffith ’49 and my grandfather, served in the 104th Infantry Division. The group earned four Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars and a Bronze Star.
After enrolling at Delaware, they played on the basketball teams and football teams. “I never would have gone to college without the G.I. Bill,” said my grandfather, who graduated in mechanical engineering.
My mother, Sharon Kittle ’74 and father, Dick Kittle ’75 met and fell in love at Delaware as undergraduates. They went on to earn master’s degrees at the university as well. My aunt and uncle also graduated from the university. My choice to pursue an undergraduate education at Delaware was in large part due to the success that my family can attribute to the university.
My own success can be attributed to the amazing faculty at UD, from my Peace Corps service (Panama 2009-2011) to my current studies at a top-10 IR school. Throughout this time, whether I was making $300 a month as a Peace Corps Volunteer, or while I work as a federal work study at American University, I have donated what little I have to the university because I believe in its mission.
I want to believe that Delaware cares about their alumni. Unfortunately, this policy, and their responses to my concerns demonstrate otherwise. Until the university gets their policy in line with the mission of their Alumni Relations office, I will not be donating money to the University of Delaware.
With all the negative publicity surrounding the university (e.g. the “I’m Shmacked” riot) I frequently find myself in the position of defending the university’s strong academics, and saying that events like these are not reflective of the university. It is time the University of Delaware create some good publicity. A great way to start would be by allowing its alumni wireless internet access in the Morris Library.