In its strongest move yet to reduce waste and keep computing costs down, University Information Technology Services has announced its plan to charge for excessive printing in campus computer labs. As a result, the number of pages students and faculty can
print each semester will be limited. The limited number of ³free² copies a user is allowed to print per semester and a per-page charge once a user exceeds that number is the best way to keep printing and computer costs down.
Many are at fault for the abuse of printing privileges. During the IU Student Association election campaign, the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy ticket admitted to printing 300 flyers in a public computing lab, flaunting this feat in its financial statement fi
ling. What VRWC did is not at all uncommon. Whether itıs printing flyers, excess rough drafts of papers or Internet pornography, users appear to have no qualms about abusing printing privileges and no incentives exist to prevent their indulgence.
The UITS printing budget for the 1997-98 school year is $351,000, an increase of 46 percent from the 1996-97 budget. Essentially, this shows users cannot practice self-control when it comes to hitting the print button in Netscape, re-printing a 20-page re
port to correct a one-word mistake or using the public computing facilitiesı printers as their own private photocopier.
UITS policy allows users to print no more than two copies of any given document, regardless of length, and imposes a 20-page maximum for any print job. While in principle this policy should work to reduce waste, UITS has not empowered its lab consultants
to enforce the policy. The only tool consultants have with which to enforce this policy is to quote the UITS policy; they have not been entrusted with the administrator rights required to cancel print jobs. As a result, lab users might be scolded for thei
r printing excesses, but are nonetheless sent along their merry ways to abuse the printing policy again and again.
This wastefulness must come to an end, and the proposed UITS print quotas are the best way to stop the abuse of printing resources. When individuals have to pay for the cost of their printing habits, they will quickly learn how to conserve resources.