If you’ve printed anything at UPEI this year, you might have noticed that it didn’t cost you anything. Well, it hasn’t always been free, and it won’t be free for much longer.

UPEI used to charge ten cents per page for every page that students printed on campus. However, that changed sometime during the winter semester of 2017, when all computers mysteriously stopped charging students for printing.

The Cadre sat down with University Librarian Donald Moses to discuss why UPEI started and continues to offer free printing.

Moses explained that “They [the university] needed to transition its authentication scheme from Novell eDirectory to Microsoft Active Directory, and as a result, the paywall wasn’t working right and had to be turned off.” When the paywall was on and working properly, it blocked students from printing anything on campus unless they had the correct amount of money in their student account. 

Moses continued, “The paywall was turned off with the expectation that it would be re-enabled.” However, that has taken a lot longer than originally expected, “We thought a fix would be in place by the end of September,” he added. 

“It’s a good news story for the students, but it’s not great for the campus or I think if you looked at the volume of paper that’s left in the trays, it’s not good for our environmental footprint,” said Moses.

Moses explained that the library had an issue at the beginning of the semester with an open chemistry textbook, which students were allowed to print. In some cases, students were printing hundreds of pages in one request. Some students have even been printing large jobs and then abandoning them in the tray. “It’s disappointing to see all of the sheets that haven’t been picked up.”

When asked who was paying for the toner and paper if the students weren’t paying, Moses said, “It’s a shared cost, it’s a university cost.”

“So that’s the story. There’s the mystery. It’s an unintended consequence of the migration, and it’s a matter of turning enough eyes on the problem until it’s solved, and it will be solved,” concluded Moses.
At press time, Dana Sanderson, Chief Information Officer of the university, informed The Cadre that UPEI has fixed the paywall problem, and will begin charging ten cents per printed page again on November 1, 2017.


By: Allison OBrien

Photo: Allison O’Brien