This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

UB to limit free printing

Published: March 31, 2005

Contributing Editor

Beginning this fall, UB students, faculty and staff will be limited to a total of 1,500 single-sided pages of free printing per school year, according to a new public printing policy presented to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee yesterday.

The new print control system—called iprint@ub—will allocate online a total of 650 pages per semester (fall and spring) and 200 pages during the summer session to each student, faculty or staff member. Beyond that, printing will cost five cents per single-sided page and eight cents for double-sided pages processed through campus computing locations, including libraries and class labs.

Users may roll over unused pages from the fall semester to spring and summer sessions, but not beyond a given academic year. Non-UB users will need to buy vendor cards in order to print materials.

Voldemar A. Innus, vice president and chief information officer, said the policy change is in response to a steadily rising printing volume, coupled with increasing costs, which, during 2003-04, totaled nearly $570,000 in paper and toner alone to print some 52 million pages.

It also arises from complaints about long lines for printing services, unclaimed printed materials, and outside users, he added.

"Actually, it was the students themselves who, out of frustration, were saying to us, 'You need to provide some kind of managed printing process in order to control it so that we can get things printed that we really need,'" Innus said.

Will Hepfer, associate librarian, noted that students at area schools frequent UB for printing services.

"Word is out around town that any other school can come to Lockwood (Library), use our resources, essentially pay nothing and print anything you want for free," Hepfer said.

The new policy is "among the most liberal" used by other institutions, Innus said, adding that similar policies at other colleges and universities have resulted in a 20-25 percent reduction in printing volume.

"Some colleges and universities make (the allocation) a ream of paper per year (500 sheets)," Innus said. "This is the cheapest cost you can get anywhere; we couldn't find another place that provides a printed page for a nickel."

The "iprint@ub" system will be piloted this spring in the Lockwood Library on the North Campus and the Health Sciences Library on the South Campus. The policy also will be reviewed at the end of the 2005-06 school year.

When asked if users can sell their allocations to others, Innus said "yes," but cautioned anyone doing this to be careful, "because in order to do that, you would need to make your password available to someone else and there are a whole bunch of bad things that can happen as a result of that, so we expect this to be self-regulating."

In other business, the committee heard from Michael E. Ryan, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, who discussed a plan to make more course syllabi available online before classes begin so that students will be able to purchase required textbooks and other materials ahead of time, possibly at discounted prices.

Ryan said faculty members may contact his office to facilitate having their Web sites linked to the syllabi site. For those without Web pages, Ryan's office will transform their syllabi into HTML and place them on the site.

Ryan acknowledged that "the success (of the plan) rests on the good will" of faculty in providing course information in advance. When asked by several faculty members about last-minute changes in course offerings, as well as requirements, Ryan said making the syllabi available online is simply a service to students and does not imply any "legal or contractual obligation" on the part of faculty.

Sharon Mitchell, director of counseling services, reported that her staff had a 14 percent increase in the number of students seeking counseling last fall over Fall 2003, and a 22 percent increase in students seen by psychiatrists in that time period. A total of 1,139 students were seen for counseling in 2003-04 at UB.

Mitchell attributed these increases to the fact that counseling services were temporarily located in a satellite office in the Student Union, where there is higher student traffic than at their regular location in the Richmond Quadrangle in Ellicott Complex.

UB students are far above the national average in terms of number of students hospitalized for psychiatric evaluations, she said. Nationally, she noted, eight students per school are admitted to hospitals each year for this purpose, while at UB, there were 40 such students during 2003-2004, and 46 so far in the current school year.

Counseling services are funded by student health fees, which during 2004-05 remain lower at UB ($88) than at Albany, Binghamton and Stony Brook, which charge $100, $110 and $105, respectively.

Mitchell reminded the committee that after-hours crisis counseling is available 24 hours a day every day by calling by calling 645-2720 during office hours or after hours by calling Campus Police at 645-2222 and asking to speak to the counselor on call. There also is a Crisis Services hotline open 24 hours at 834-3131.