By SCOTT PHELAN/Montana State News

Computer labs at Montana State University are closed on Saturdays even though many students feel their academic workload demands more lab hours than are available. However, lab coordinators disagree.

Many students are required by their majors to use professional level software, costing upwards of $1,000 in order to be better prepared for the looming job market.

“I’m in an econometrics capstone course this semester,” said Andrew Carroll, an economics major. “We basically have one big final project, which requires the use of a program called STATA. I’ll spend many hours using STATA this semester, and the computer labs are the only place STATA is available to use.”

“Let’s be honest, with the amount of work expected of some of us outside of class, it is preposterous that they close the labs,” Carroll added.

Technicians at the Montana State University information technology department said the lab hours were adjusted to reflect the times that students actually used the labs.

“At one point in time, perhaps seven years ago, the labs were open on Saturdays,” said Taylor Reese of the MSU information technology department. “However, when we tracked the number of users in the labs, we noticed that we typically had less than ten-people-a-day utilizing the labs.”

Reese saud the number of students using the labs did not make the cost of employing a lab supervisor justifiable.

“I just don’t understand why they can’t open the labs and leave them unsupervised, MSU student Cambria McDermott said. “We’re all young adults at a research institution, why do we need to be supervised?”

When asked why supervision is required, Reese replied, “It’s what we’ve always done. We do it do to help students with I.T. issues, and to keep the labs clean.”

Reese suggested the students petition MSU student government to fund the labs on Saturdays. They also suggested writing a letter to MSU President Waded Cruzado to explain the situation and seek a solution.

A complete list of lab hours can be found by visiting:

– Edited by Kaitlyn Nicholas