Point: Printing quotas really are that bad
We now have a printing quota: forty dollars? worth of paper per semester. Each time you print a sheet of paper, the printer eats up five cents of this quota. That?s 800 to 1600 pages, depending on whether you print double-sided.
It seems like a lot, but for students majoring in English and other paper-use-heavy majors, it?s really not. Students taking a creative writing workshop are required to print or copy their stories for classmates. Printing four 12-page stories throughout the semester, for a class of 15, will use 720 pages single-sided. That?s almost your entire quota, for one portion of a single class! If you are verbose and write stories that are 17 pages, you?ll use 1020 pages of paper: a huge chunk of even the double-sided quota.
If you deplete your quota, extra printing is not simply billed to your tuition, nor is a printing bill sent to your house at the semester?s end. The printer just refuses to print. You?ll have to go to a machine in the UC and insert cash to increase your quota. The harried student late for class doesn?t have this luxury of time.
Admirably, CMU?s new printing system will save paper. The price paid for this savings is that a small group of students will be adding extra money to their printing quota while the majority of students do not use their alloted quota. To use part of someone else?s quota they?d have to be present to let you use their ID card, which is unlikely. Though the majority of students aren?t going to use their quota, a select few are going to end up paying money out of pocket.
You might argue: well, you?re a writing major, and this is the price you pay, just like the architects must buy their special supplies. It is true, I knew I was going into a print-heavy major when I enrolled, but I assume printing paper is part of tuition. Since most students won?t use their full quota, it seems unfair that those few who do, not because of wastefulness but because of their major, must pay extra.
Don?t get me wrong, I advocate saving trees, but the new printing restrictions fail to solve some old printing problems. Long waits were an issue last year. Though the new printers operate faster, Pear and Grapenut have been shut down, leaving large jobs to be dealt with by any printer. Waiting for documents stands to get worse if very large jobs are now sent to local cluster printers as well.
More worrisome is that students who print a great deal will be penny-pinching their pages. Some students will be losing money. If you?re a writing major like me, you?ll be pushing dollars into the UC kiosk at midnight before you run to Cyert, while a large portion of others? quotas goes unused. Yes, I understand that as a writing major I use more paper than most. And yes, I understand that the rest of campus should not have to pay for my printing. But how is it fair to charge a student for printing when the rest of campus is not using the bulk of their quota?