Journalism students debate owning iPhones

When the University of Missouri School of Journalism’s student newspaper reported that incoming students of the journalism program would be required to purchase either an iPhone or an iPod Touch, it touched off a debate about whether universities can require specific tech purchases or whether certain companies can have a tech "monopoly" on campuses, reports the Wall Street Journal. As it turns out, students won’t actually be punished or disciplined if they don’t buy one, though the school does recommend it; the intention was to help out students who were on financial aid, so the cost of iPhone or an iPod could be included in a financial aid estimate. But some students felt that they were being cajoled by the school into "an unnecessary and expensive relationship with Apple" that "compromises journalistic integrity," according to a Facebook group called "Rotten Apple" that was launched by student Elizabeth Eberlin. At the time this story was written, only 37 students had joined, and after the administration clarified that Apple products weren’t actually required, she backpedaled, writing, "I was just worried that students were being forced into a brand, that no matter what percent of the market it really is, is not a good fit for everyone." Her point, though, is an important one. While schools do undoubtedly want to enhance the learning experience of their students, should they be allowed to make certain technology purchases compulsory?

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