Although the screens in Goldfarb Library report that the printing system is now up and running, this board urges the University to examine what went wrong, particularly poor planning and a lack of communication.

Due to issues with the printing payment system, library printing was offered for free at the start of the fall semester. Ideally, any issues with the payment system should have been resolved prior to the start of classes. This board acknowledges that this matter may have been out of the library’s hands, but it also finds the library’s lack of communication on the matter irresponsible. Except for posting signs, the library did little to make the student body aware of the initial free status of printing, leaving news of it to spread as a rumor. As students discovered the free printing, egregious overuse began, leading to the breakdown of not only one but — at one point — five of the six printers available to students in Goldfarb. If the library had made an announcement explaining the situation, as well as giving guidelines about courteous usage or limitations, the situation could have been controlled.

Further, the library should have notified students when printers started to be put out of order. Not all students have the resources to access other means of printing, and the library was clearly aware of this, given their decision to allow free printing rather than temporarily removing the services at the beginning of the school year. As such, the library should also have known to alert the student body by the time there was only one available printer left. Had the library sent out an announcement, students would have known to take their printing needs elsewhere.
The reality of college is that many students print assignments shortly before class. With over a 20-minute backlog to the sole functional printer on Thursday, students were forced to choose between arriving to class late or arriving without their assignments. Additionally, the library’s silence meant that instructors were also unaware of the printing circumstances, leaving students to explain the situation themselves.

Further, while the library’s initial decision to enable free printing — rather than rescind printing altogether — was commendable, this board believes that it was shortsighted. There were several students who viewed the free printing as an opportunity to print unlimited pages, some documents well over 40 pages long. Such inconsiderate behavior, in the end, directly caused both the printer breakdowns and backlogs. Paper and ink were wasted on PDF files of whole textbooks, and other students attempting to print more immediate documents were left waiting. Moreover, when impatient students abandoned their place to collect their printouts later, their documents joined an oversized collection of similarly abandoned papers on the table near the printer to be lost and, later, reprinted. This board urges students to take this situation as a reminder to be considerate of their peers.