Campus printing systems changed

Daniel Trucil

In response to recent budget modifications, the University Information Technology Department has implemented a new printing system aimed at increasing “technological efficiency” within the University community. The program, which was recently applied to the Mendel Hall computer labs, monitors an individual’s printer output while requiring certain people to pay for the use of the facilities. While UNIT officials have assured the University population that this program is designed simply to monitor effectiveness, many students say they are both irritated and perplexed.

The program was first conceived earlier this year, when concerns regarding technological effectiveness at the University forced UNIT to reevaluate some of its service.

“One of the areas in which we saw substantial room for improvement was the University’s printing system,” Ashish Desai, Villanova’s Academic Computer Support Analyst, said. “Prior to the execution of this plan, we were spending [a substantial amount on printer supplies]. The new system is designed to maintain our academic services while ensuring that students are using the print labs primarily for that purpose.”

Recent adjustments to the system require students to log their print information electronically via the Wildcard and, in some cases, to pay for services rendered. In Mendel Hall, for example, engineering students may print only a certain number of free pages before they are required to put money on their student account for further use of the building’s print facility.

Despite UNIT’s efforts to make this technological transition as smooth as possible, the program has not been met with approval from all in the community.

“I can understand why they’re doing all this, but it just makes everything a little bit more difficult,” Mimi Dutta, a freshman student said. “It seems like every lab has a different policy and with all the printing I have to do for readings and papers in my classes, it’s hard not to be burdened and confused. They keep saying it’s for our own good, but I’m starting to run into problems with trying to get everything done.”

UNIT has assured the University that things will improve. In addition to the supervision of printing, the new system will also allow the school to purchase better printers and maintain more effective service.

“This program generates absolutely no revenue for the Technology department and is simply a way of gauging our efficiency,” Desai said. “We’re not trying to make things more difficult and we’ve been working with each college to ensure that our user support is not diminished.”

Desai added, “Our goal is to work with and for the students to better enable technology and academics.  Of course there are always multiple issues and concerns to juggle but our focus is and has always been serving our customers, the students.”