Last week, the Mac Lab put an end to its longstanding policy of free printing for user-generated content. With the termination of this service, the University completes its transition to a unified printing system. Although administrators have explained the change in service as a cost-cutting measure, the inconvenience it will pose for students outweighs the money saved.
While the Mac Lab is under no obligation to provide free printing, the former policy offered a well-used, much appreciated student service. The change in policy will be a hit both to students’ wallets and to their schedules. Previously, the Mac Lab was a haven not only for free printing, but for quick printing. Now, students have to remember to bring cash or credit to fill their cards before they print at the Lab, which means that those working on deadline or putting the finishing touches on their work before class will be inconvenienced.
Moreover, the move to pay-for-print seems unnecessary given the strict regulations on printing already in place at the Lab, which limited the number of pages per user to 30 per week and banned PDF printing. If 30 pages proved too costly, then the Mac Lab could have lowered the individual cap to 15 pages per week, cutting the costs by half without negatively affecting the majority of student users. The Lab has opted for this cost-cutting measure in the past, reducing last year’s printing limit of 100 down to 30 pages. Given current restrictions and the potential for a more accommodating solution, it seems abrupt that the Mac Lab would cut their service completely before trying other options.
There may be genuine money-saving value in discontinuing the Mac Lab’s free printing, but it seemed like a reasonable burden for the University to bear given all the service it provided. Whatever the reasons behind it, this policy change is a serious inconvenience for students.
— The Maroon Editorial Board consists of the Editor-in-Chief, Viewpoints Editors, and an additional Editorial Board member.