In a sensible move to reduce the staggering amount of wasted paper in University computer labs, the Information and Technology Advisory Policy Committee is considering limiting the amount of free copies granted to students and faculty. After a certain amount of copies, a modest fee might be charged for additional copies.
As long as students are allowed to make a reasonable amount of copies, the plan will achieve its goal while leaving students who don’t abuse the current system unaffected. A subcommittee reporting to ITAC recommended that students be permitted to make 250 free copies per year, which, although a bit conservative, should cover the printing needs of most students.
There are sound reasons for limiting printing. Preserving paper will save the University a substantial amount of money. In reality, only a minority of students abuse the current system, accounting for a disproportionate amount of the wasted paper. Moreover, as a Green University, GW has a commitment to environmental responsibility.
But before any restrictions are implemented, the University must ensure that the technical glitches that cause printers to waste paper are fixed. Some printers emit blank sheets or sheets scattered with confusing computer codes. To justify cutting the amount of copies limited to students and faculty, the University must first cut its own waste.
Certain logistical issues also must be ironed out. Students will be assessed fees by either GWorld cards or by a computer login system. The system that turns out to be more convenient should be put into place.
Ultimately, limiting printing rights – if executed fairly and efficiently – is a fair proposal. The plan will cause students and faculty to think before making exorbitant amounts of copies, hurting only those who deliberately abuse the system.
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This article appeared in the March 16, 2000 issue of the Hatchet.