Printing privileges highlight disparities among majors
April 6, 2017
Over the past few weeks, I developed a new pastime on my way to my classes: I count the orange bags prospective students walk around with, given the seemingly endless amount of tours on campus lately. My top count has been 72, believe it or not.
There’s something I’ve only recently learned. That these 72 students and many others should know: printing.
Coming into my freshman year, I had way too many things to worry about. Wondering how I would print my papers did not top the list. But as the school year progressed, printing became a priority.
Many classes require physical papers to be turned in for both essays and homework assignments. Some professors provide the opportunity to catch up on any missed class time by allowing students to print out note sheets online.
While printing can be beneficial to students, many cannot utilize printing resources on campus without paying a price.
Free printing should be a universal service and students should be given the choice of whether or not they want to pay for the service. With the thousands of dollars every student pays to attend, it’s only fair that every major is offered the same opportunities.
Currently at the University, the only students that are given “free printing” privileges are those within the Engineering department and six other STEM majors. But while it may be labeled as “free,” students in these departments are paying an increased tuition that accommodates for certain utilities such as printing.
Freshman and sophomore students with Engineering Work Station accounts are given 300 page printing quotas, worth $24. Juniors receive 400 pages, worth $32, and seniors are given 500 pages, worth $40.
Not only do Engineering students receive printing services from their Engineering Work Station accounts, but they can also gain those services from various student organizations. The Association for Computing Machinery is a group of students who essentially share a common interest in computer technology. The Association for Computing Machinery has its own office in the Siebel Center for Computer Science, where members can utilize a smaller computer lab, open work space and a printer.
According to Tommy Yu, sophomore in computer science and current chair of the Association for Computing Machinery, the organization provides its members with unlimited printing in black and white.
“The printing services are essentially paid for with the $40 new member fees,” Yu said, “as long as they’re printing within the ACM office.”
Most of the Association for Computing Machinery consists of students who are in the Engineering department, so the members are essentially receiving unlimited printing on top of the printing quotas granted from their increased tuition costs.
When asked if he uses his entire printing quota, Yu responded jokingly, “No not really, since I can just print at the ACM office, you know?”
Yu is probably not the only one who doesn’t use his quota. With the large population of students within the Engineering school, the amount of papers that are not being printed could potentially benefit other students who need to pay for those services.
Students who major within the humanities may need to utilize printing more than others, given the particular demands of their curriculum. Regardless, it shouldn’t be a discussion of who deserves it more because it should be a service given to all students, much like the bus system or even the meal plans.
When it comes to something as small as printing, it shouldn’t be a big deal for the University to re-balance the equality and give every student the right to choose whether or not they would like to receive that service.
Saketh is a freshman in DGS.