No cell phones allowed: Some colleges ban modern-day gadgets

Erin Milligan has to surrender her cell phone to school officials before going back to college this year, Yahoo News reports.

Milligan isn’t being punished for violating any rules. She’s just following Wyoming Catholic College’s technology policy, which bans cell phones at the small liberal arts school.

And even more surprising, as someone who grew up in a generation that has never known a world without the Internet, Milligan says she likes it.

“It’s a release, really, not having a cell phone,” said Milligan, a 20-year-old junior from New Hampshire. “When you are no longer captivated by technology, you find your true and real self.”

Also banned at Milligan’s school are televisions and access to most websites in dorm rooms. Administrators allow only limited Internet connectivity throughout the campus, so students can do online research.

Before the start of each school year, Milligan and her 111 classmates at the college relinquish the devices most of their peers elsewhere use to stay constantly connected to friends, family and classmates. Student leaders lock the phones in a box in each dorm room.

Students can check them out for emergencies or if they leave campus for travel.

“We are so tech savvy these days,” Milligan said. “But something that is really prevalent is our inability to genuinely communicate at a human-to-human, face-to-face level.”

At Wyoming Catholic College, located in the picturesque mountain town of Lander, 150 miles northwest of Casper, the ban on technology is part of the school’s mission to foster more traditional debate between students and their peers and also between students and faculty, Dean of Students Jonathan Tonkowich said.

“We’ve all have the experience where you are talking to someone and their phone goes off, or their text goes off, and they stop talking to you and begin talking someone who is not there,” Tonkowich said. “I’m worried about that direction in our society, where people you aren’t with are more important than the people you are with.”

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