You can try and get them to allow updating, but it doesn't sound like they know much about Linux. I would make plans to switch.

Again I recommend trying Linux Mint. By default it runs as a Live CD without installing it. You can then install it by clicking the install icon on the desktop (if you want). You can download it here:

Download - Linux Mint

I would be interested if Mint, or another version of Linux, sees the wireless card. Right now I don't think that you will have any luck, because the system doesn't even know it exists.