Pass/Fail: Lower printing prices start the semester off right; Baker’s explanations lack transparency

Angela L. Pagan

Pass:

The spring 2017 semester begins with at least one positive change for students–lower printing prices. In 2016 NIU changed its printing system to a pay-as-you-go method which cost students 7 cents to print black and white pages and 25 cents to print color pages, according to a Sept. 6, 2016 Northern Star article.

While this change may not seem like a big deal to some, to students whose majors require 20 to 30 pages of hard copy work a week, this is a nice discount.

As students we pay for our education in many ways besides the standard tuition fee. Books, computer programs, housing and other school supplies add up every semester and for many of us any sort of discount is a blessing. The beginning of any semester holds so many changes and things to stress over, so it is a relief to have one less problem to worry about before classes start up.

Hopefully there comes a semester when printing is basically unnecessary and our campus can consider itself to be completely eco-friendly. I understand this sort of change can be a long transition and that is why this printing price decrease is so appreciated because it makes the transition less of a burden on students.

Fail:

President Doug Baker addressed the concerns that led to an investigation of procurement practices, employment decisions and contractual arrangements in 2013 and 2014; unfortunately, his reply to these issues was extremely vague.

The investigation yielded no evidence of “substandard work,” according to a Dec. 28, 2016 Northern Star article. Baker sent out a response to the NIU community on Dec. 22, 2016 in which he tried to explain how the investigation came about and how the University will proceed following the outcome.

While the email was clear in the actions Baker plans to take, the email did not specify what wrong decisons or practices ocurred in 2013 and 2014 that led to this mess.

As an average student, reading that NIU had “weaknesses in internal controls” and “some limited compliance violations” in an email does not clarify what really happened. Although Baker made the right decision creating a plan to prevent future mistakes of the same nature, by not explaining what led to these plans the entire situation still lacks transparency which makes it hard to trust Baker.