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Volume 5, Number 6
19 October 1998

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In the last issue of Bilkent News, there was a letter to the editor complaining about the high prices in cafeterias at Bilkent. The answer to this letter defended the prices based on the operating costs of these facilities. We think this was neither a persuasive nor a sensible reply. We believe the reason prices are approximately more than double at Bilkent than in the city or at METU is that those who run the cafeterias think that "Whatever price we set, the demand for our services does not change significantly in such a non-competitive market." If the high operating cost argument is valid we are sure that many other entrepreneurs would be willing to operate these cafeterias less expensively and offer lower prices. But if our claim is valid, the administration must consider the plight of the students and apply a price control practice to restrict the prices.

(Barış Pazarbaşı, IE-IV,
Sinan Gürel, IE-IV)

Each week we have lab assignments for our computer course. Because the sections are too crowded, students are divided into different labs. Every Thursday we have difficulties with the Artlab that is reserved for us. We are not able to find working PCs even though we come to the lab early.

There are always at least seven PCs that students cannot use. The assistant does not have the technical knowledge to help us in these situations. What are the responsibilities of the personnel working in the Artlab? They should put a notice on a PC if it is not working.

(Nergis Yalçınkaya, ECON-II)

In recent issues of the Bilkent News some complaints about the food prices on campus were published. Although I completely agree that food is quite expensive at Bilkent, the main problem is not about a particular seller adjusting prices arbitrarily or prices set to cover "operating expenses" as defended by the editor. Every seller is free to set prices according to the criteria of their choice, such as profit or service to community. The trouble stems from the fact that students are faced with a monopoly that is strengthened by the location of the campus. This can be remedied only if Bilkent permits other sellers on campus, creating competition that will bring prices down. For example, at METU there are at least 10 restaurants all located in the same building. I would like to know if Bilkent has set up particular barriers (from simple refusal to extravagant rents) to prevent sellers other than Bilintur from entering the food market here. Also, I want to raise the same question for the Meteksan bookstore, photocopy prices and other services.

(Ercan Solak, EE-IX)

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or to the Communications Unit, Engineering Building, room EG-23, ext. 1487.
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