SGA: PrintSense would limit student printing in labs

It was unexpectedly announced at last week’s Student Government Association (SGA) meeting that the College would be implementing PrintSense next year, a new policy that is designed to alleviate printer abuse but may impact many students on and off campus financially.

PrintSense, which would be implemented on Jan. 1, 2005 at the earliest, would allow each student to print up to 400 pages per year, while his or her student account would be billed five cents for each page exceeding that limit.

A new Printer Accounting Server would be added to monitor how many pages each student prints while logged in under his or her Novell user name. Students would be able to check how many pages they had printed online through the College’s Web site.

Frank Nardozza, assistant director of Access Technology, talked about the program and fielded questions.

Information Technology has observed an abuse in the usage of the laser printers in the 22 computer labs on campus as hundreds of thousands of copies are printed each month. According to Nardozza, almost 1 million copies were printed last April and since these services have been factored into the Information Technology (IT) cost in tuition. Nearly 5 million pages were printed last year.

Of those copies, only seven percent of students using the labs are printing between 1,000 and over 20,000 copies in a year, as monitored by the computer lab servers. It is the belief of IT that this small fraction of students is printing non-academic related materials and could end up costing all students.

Nardozza also said the copiers on campus are not being used nearly as much as the computer lab printers.

It is believed that the implementation of PrintSense, which has been used by other local colleges like the University of Pennsylvania and Rider University, would also help the environment by limiting paper waste. Nardozza said it is also hoped that printers, paper, cartridges and toner would last longer.

This raised many concerns among students in attendance. One was the fact that many professors have students print online resources for classes instead of using books. Some students print hundreds of pages per week for classes, which would put them over the limit in a matter of weeks. Many wondered if perhaps their professors should be in charge of copying these materials for the classes rather than have the copies charged to the students’ accounts.

Another concern was that students on campus were not asked about this proposed campus-wide policy. While the numbers concerning printer abuse shown in the presentation seemed convincing, many students wondered if one year was a long enough period of time in which to assess the problem.

Many also wondered if this is only being done because other colleges and universities are doing the same thing.

Off-campus users are particularly affected because they often rely on the computer labs to print out their work. Other students wondered how student organizations would be charged to print fliers.

Nardozza said students would be notified via e-mail. He added that professors should be made aware of the proposal and that those who require a lot of printing might consider copying materials for the classes or printing the materials on their own account so that the students are not charged.