A computer in every dormitory?!

Another gem from the NYTimes Archives describes the heated debate for Wesleyan’s administration to embrace computers back in 1983. Here are my favorite quotes:

– A computer in every dormitory room?

– “That day may well be coming, but I’m not one to make predictions,” said Nathanael Greene, Wesleyan’s vice president for academic affairs.

– “If you take a look at what the larger and more technologically oriented universities are doing, it is pretty clear that a personal computer system is necesssary,” said David Todd, who directs Wesleyan’s Computer Center. “In 20 years this sort of thing will be common. Every college will do it.”

– “I do expect to see a lot of students coming in here with microcomputers,” said Kevin Compton, an asst. professor of mathematics at Wesleyan. “If the price comes down, I think you will see college students buying microcomputers like they used to buy typewriters.”

– “Computers do have a certain potential and I am going to learn about them, but there is a cocmputer mentality that is getting taken too seriously here,” said Leslie Brokaw, a junior. “Sitting at a terminal punchin buttons is dehumanizing. It’s the complete other end of the spectrum from human contact. There are already too many people at Wesleyan who spend more time with computers than with their friends.”

– Vice President Greene defends Wesleyan’s decision to invest heavily in the rapidly changing world of computer science. “We are placing a wager on what is central to this institution,” he said. “And I think computer science is central to a liberal arts education. It is marvelous and exciting.”

by Randy Siegel. New York Times, July 24 1983.

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