Sac State night students speak on limited drive-in Wi-Fi hours

Internet access is available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Chris Wong

Sac State seniors Shayal Ram and Ranjita Tiwari study for an exam at the drive-in Wi-Fi in Parking Structure V on Friday, April 17. Sac State offers drive-in Wi-Fi for students who need internet access.

Luis Platero

Sacramento State offers drive-in Wi-Fi on weekdays for students who have a hard time accessing the internet for online classes, but only for a limited time during each day — leaving night students who don’t have internet at home without access. 

Wi-Fi access is available to students in Parking Structure V Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to Sac State’s Information Resources & Technology Service Desk. The intention is to provide an option for students who have difficulty with internet access so they can take care of their school work, according to IRT Director of Operations and Network Services Ted Koubiar.

“The idea was to give people access,” said Koubiar. “(To give) people that don’t have access to broadband or internet a place to go so they can connect.”

RELATED: Sac State offers ‘drive-in wi-fi’ amid coronavirus-induced online classes

However, some students may not have access to the drive-in Wi-Fi if they are not available to use it during the hours it is open or if their classes take place outside of that time frame.

Shayal Ram, a business administration major, said it is hard as a working student to be able to use the drive-in Wi-Fi within the hours it is available after working during the day. She said she would have to take time off work to be able to study at the drive-in.

“Normally I’d get off at like 3:30 (p.m.), having a full eight hour shift, and by the time I get here it’s like 4 (p.m.),” Ram said. 

Ram and Ranjita Tiwari, a business administration major, decided to try the drive-in Wi-Fi to study for exams together. Ram said she has experienced connection issues during classes since more people are now at home and congesting the Wi-Fi.

Ram said the drive-in Wi-Fi worked well for them after finding a good parking spot; however, neither Ram or Tiwari knew about the limited hours of the drive-in Wi-Fi at first. Both said they would like to see the hours extended to allow more time to study.

Lauren White, a history major, said that internet access is extremely important right now, and having the option of the drive-in Wi-Fi is wonderful.

“Financially disadvantaged students who can’t afford at-home internet still have every right to learn,” White said in a direct message via Reddit. “I think it’s great that Sacramento State is giving students this opportunity.”

Still, White believes the hours of the drive-in Wi-Fi should be extended. She is taking two night classes because they were the only sections she could enroll in, and although she has internet at home, she said she is upset that night students who need internet access to attend their classes are being denied the ability to use the drive-in Wi-Fi. 

White believes all students are entitled to attend the classes they pay for. She thinks the Wi-Fi should be available 24 hours a day.

Story continues below photo.

Chris Wong

Seraiah Carter, a communications studies major, said she is taking a three-hour night class to have more days available to work. She said she has internet access at home, but it has been slow. She said her boyfriend bought a new router because the internet kept cutting out. 

Carter thinks the drive-in Wi-Fi is a nice offer by Sac State, but not helpful for her. She said she doesn’t like the idea of working from her car, and even though she believes she would feel left out if she didn’t have internet access at home she doesn’t think the drive-in Wi-Fi hours should be changed. 

“Everyone is really going the extra mile so I feel like we’re just going to have to make use of it the best that we can,” said Carter.

Carter said if she didn’t have internet access at home, she would email her night class professor to tell them why she couldn’t be in attendance and use the drive-in Wi-Fi to watch recorded lectures. She said it would be great if the university could give out Wi-Fi hotspots to everyone, but said it’s not realistic.

Koubiar said the university loans hotspots to students as well as laptops and other equipment. Although there is an inventory limit, Koubiar said they have loaned nearly 200 hotspots with some still available. He suggests night students struggling with internet access should request a hotspot through their faculty.

Koubiar said he thinks the drive-in Wi-Fi hours are set for security and protection of the students. He said with feedback from students a change could be considered, but University Parking & Transportation Services and the Sacramento State Police Department would have to assess the situation.

“We’re trying everything, every avenue to make sure we have a level field for everybody to be able to connect to their classes,” Koubiar said.

Additional reporting by deputy news editor Chris Wong.