ASG officials to research solutions for computer printing fees

Sara Melillo

After meeting with an information technology official Thursday to discuss options for alleviating or eliminating student printing fees, ASG executives plan to submit a research report by May 14.

Associated Student Government executives met with Mort Rahimi, vice president for Information Technology, for more than an hour Thursday. The group decided to submit a detailed research report that compared Northwestern’s printing fees to other schools, explained problems with the current system and offered solutions, said Courtney Brunsfeld, ASG student services vice president.

“If we have something more concrete, they will look at more of what we have to say,” said Brunsfeld, a Weinberg sophomore.

ASG President Jordan Heinz, ASG Technology Director Prashant Velagaleti, former ASG president Adam Humann and former Student Services Vice President Laura Ellis also attended the meeting.

The printing fee controversy began Fall quarter when Northwestern began charging students a five-cent fee for every printed black-and-white page.

ASG Senate passed a bill in September decrying the printing fees and calling for administrators to either lower or eliminate costs.

Despite student protests, Rahimi said the printing fee implementation has been successful in controlling student’s wasted paper.

“We have reduced paper waste by 75 percent, and whenever you’re saving paper, you’re saving ink,” Rahimi said.

Rahimi said Thursday’s meeting was both productive and civil.

“Everyone understood the printing fees problem at the meeting as they have all along,” Rahimi said. “Nevertheless, (ASG) would like us to look at the other possible options.”

ASG’s main proposal at the meeting was to establish a printing quota, allowing students a certain number of free printed sheets per quarter or year, and then charging per sheet after students exceed the limit.

Before the university decides on any changes, ASG should provide the research report to be discussed internally between the library and IT, Rahimi said.

Heinz, an Education junior, said the report will contain printing fee information from other universities and provide the basic rationale for the reason NU students require a certain amount of free printing,

After the report is delivered to Rahimi by May 14, the IT Advisory Board will meet with him to discuss its contents.

Brunsfeld said the ASG-organized IT Advisory Board will comprise students and faculty and advise the university on technological issues like printing fees and wireless technology.

Though they may have differences, Rahimi said administrators are eager to work with students on the printing fee issue in the future.

“I will be very pleased to take a look at their report along with the library and let them know what we can or cannot do,” Rahimi said.

No changes in printing fees will be enacted this year due to the late date, he said, but if a decision is made by early summer, changes could be implemented Fall Quarter.