OU tones up its printing policies in response to faculty concerns

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Ohio University administrators have issued new
guidelines on printing issues after a recent agreement with a Columbus
copying/printing firm raised a variety of concerns among faculty.

Those concerns came to a head in a Faculty Senate resolution
warning of cost increases and decreased efficiency related to implementing the
printing service agreement. The university, on the other hand, has maintained
that the agreement would save the university money and streamline printing
processes.

The new guidance allows departments to either join
onto the agreement immediately or to make the transition in phases.

OU signed the printing service agreement with ComDoc this past spring. In March, Faculty Senate
passed a resolution calling for OU to “either negotiate exemptions to the Print
Responsibly program for all departments, schools, colleges or support units
that would see an increase in their printing budget as a result of the
contract.”

That resolution has gone unsigned by Provost Pam
Benoit, however.

In that announcement, OU officials provided a variety
of options to faculty concerned about the new program possibly raising costs
within a specific unit or department. The announcement was signed byBenoit and
VP for Finance and Administration Stephen Golding.

“The printer/copier initiative was created to
leverage spending on printing and copying and to encourage a more sustainable
approach to energy, toner, and paper consumption,” the letter said.

Since selecting ComDoc to spearhead that initiative
after a request-for-proposal process, the university has had two months of conversations
with deans, staff and faculty leadership about implementation.

“Those discussions have resulted in the establishment
of two approaches for units to use in meeting their copying and printing
needs,” the letter said, adding that departments should seek guidance from
their respective deans on which option best fits their needs.

Option one is full adoption
of the initiative.

“Under this option, units will transition fully to
networked printers and printer/copiers… Printers will be networked laser printers
and will be distributed in ways that will support productivity,” the
announcement states.

The networked laser printers may serve as desktop
units in a variety of special circumstances, the letter states.

“Departments will not incur any costs associated with
the acquisition of equipment or the installation of network drops. Departments
will be billed per copy,” it said.

Option two is a phased transition to the new
initiative.

“Departments will be able to use all of their
existing printers until they become inoperable. Units may purchase supplies and
pay for service for units that they currently own with university funds. When a
unit determines that a printer needs to be replaced it will work with ComDoc
and University Procurement to transition to the program, which may result in
the implementation of a networked laser printer or use of a centralized
multi-function device,” the letter states.

The university will also have an incentive program to
encourage departments to make the transition to the new initiative. The program
will accelerate the transition in option two.

Benoit and Golding thanked deans, University
Procurement staff, and faculty leaders for helping work through the issues.

“In offering this modified implementation approach to
the printer/copier initiative, we recognize that we have not addressed all of
the concerns raised by members of the university community. However, we hope
that we have found some common ground that will help us achieve savings and
promote sustainability,” the letter concludes.

During a Faculty Senate meeting Monday night, some
senators still expressed concerns, especially with relation to the printing of
sensitive materials using more public machines than private desktop machines.

Benoit declined to formalize its ComDoc resolution by
signature in late May, Faculty Senate President Elizabeth Sayrs said Wednesday.

“I think that she has taken the concerns raised by
the faculty seriously; the recent memo about ComDoc reflects that,” Sayrs said.
“While current version of the program doesn’t address every concern (as noted
in the memo itself), she has involved us in extensive discussions and moved
toward a more flexible program that better takes into account how faculty and
departments do their work.”

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