Students blindsided by lack of print quota

NIU should have been more vocal in its recent elimination of the printing quota for students. In order to make up for the confusion caused by this change, professors should now be more flexible in transitioning to a digital curriculum.

The printing quota has gradually diminished since 2012, from unlimited printing to this semester’s pay-as-you-go system, according to a Nov. 26, 2012, Northern Star article.

While the elimination of the printing quota is announced on the Division of Information Technology’s website, students were still caught off guard by the change. The last mention of the stipend was made by NIU on Jan. 25 in an NIU announcement which asked students to participate in a survey about their printing needs.

“I was surprised they didn’t tell us [that they got rid of the quota],” said junior english major Madison Smith. “It was like they were trying to hide it. If they were going to cut costs somewhere, that wasn’t the way to do it.”

Other than the Division of Information Technology’s website, there was little information available recently for students to know their printing stipend would no longer exist this fall. Although information about why the stipend was being gradually eliminated was provided on NIU’s website in the minutes of a Computing Facilities Advisory Committee meeting from April 13, 2012, students starting this fall semester with no stipend deserved a recap.

While the Northern Star applauds this effort, we recommend the intent to become more eco-friendly also be adopted by professors in terms of class requirements.

“[The end of the printing quota] is an awful thing,” said Milda Willoughby, junior computer science major. “In statistics, we are required to print off our notes which is about 60 pages; that $7 would have been nice. It ends up being around $4 with the rates today, but it could have come out of the $7.”

Without the cooperation of professors, NIU’s initiative to lower printing on campus will become a burden to students. Blackboard, NIU’s online course management system, allows students to submit papers online through SafeAssign, a program that helps prevent plagiarism, along with other assignments. As long as professors use this system to its full advantage, students will not have to scramble to load money onto their OneCards in order to pay for printing.