An open letter to save free printing at NIU

By Taurean Small

Dear NIU Computing Facilities Advisory Committee,

As a Huskie at NIU, I am highly disgruntled by your proposal to charge students to use the printers on campus. In fact, I cannot recall a time where I have been more upset. Do you understand that you are taking away the most valuable word to a struggling college student like me: Free.

Clearly, this is personal.

Evidently you have become so corrupted by the ubiquitous dollar sign that you have lost the true meaning of college.

Considering we pay an arm and a leg in tuition, the other set in room and board and we are buried up to our necks in book costs and students fees, which body parts are we left with to finance your new get-rich-quick scheme?

As the voice of the struggling college student, I feel it is important to also share the views of my fellow dissatisfied Huskies.

“I couldn’t image paying for every assignment I had to turn in,” said Junae Bennett, mass communication major. “We pay to take the class, why should we have to pay to print out the assignments too?”

George Bychowski, IT manager of web development, told the Student Association Senate that, “People will print out 50-page reports, find out they had one error, and throw the whole thing away.”

As believable as this scenario is, the odds of this situation being recurrent among the majority of computer lab users are slim to none.

Have you ever considered getting rid of the description cover page to save the university money instead? Especially considering students throw away the cover page almost simultaneously as it is printed out.

And where is the true harm in being a little wasteful?

Have you never heard of recklessly splurging on yourself every now and then, or the old saying, “kill a tree, plant a tree?”

No? Me, either.

But still, we trust NIU to alleviate some of our expenses by compensating us for small issues like printing.

Yes, $300,000 is a lot of money, and NIU is one of only three other universities that do not charge us for printing, but how is that an argument against keeping the policy? NIU should be proud that it functions to serve students and is not quick to follow other universities’ policies.

Obviously, any person reading this column would agree that there is no greater perk for students than having access to a free utility on campus.

That is why I encourage you to reconsider your proposal. And maybe throw in free colored-construction paper instead. While you are at it, consider replacing the wheeled chairs in the labs with beanbag chairs.

Too soon?

Yours truly,

An angry and cheap NIU student