Staff, faculty debate printer furnishings in new building on campus

Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp

Lauren J. Mapp

Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp

Lauren J. Mapp, Editor-in-Chief

San Diego Mesa College’s new math and sciences building is set to open next fall, and as preparations are being made to move into the new building, the issue of individual printers is becoming a concern for the faculty who will call it home.

Faculty members in the math and sciences department raised concerns after finding out that there might not be individual printers on the faculty desks in the new building. Instead of the system of individual printers that they currently have, each department would have a single printer to use.

“When the buildings were planned however many years ago, my understanding is that the district was trying to do fewer printers at desks and more of the ganged printers, so that you can not have as much expensive paper and toner and all those kinds of things,” said Mesa College President Dr. Pamela Luster. “I don’t know that the people – the user groups, the faculty that are planning the buildings – were ever necessarily informed of that.”

Some faculty members feel that shared governance rules have been circumvented in the way that this issue was handled. Instead of discussing it beforehand, a statement acknowledged the fact that they would need to share printers after the move.

“The main problem that we found was that we weren’t consulted, where they just said ‘this is what’s happening’,” said Phyllis Meckstroth, co-chair of the math department.

Faculty members throughout the campus will determine the ultimate decision on whether there will be shared or individual printers. During a president’s cabinet meeting on Nov. 6, it was decided that the facilities committee would research the possible effects, keeping in line with the principle of shared governance. How this plays out will affect future buildings due to limited financial resources.

“The college needs to have some discussion about because what happens in one building will impact all the other buildings,” Luster said. “Buildings that are three or four buildings down the road may end up not having the same level of resources if we make expensive decisions early on.”

Though issues of sustainability and energy conservation may be legitimate reasons to decrease computer equipment, privacy has been cited as a concern for some professors.

“When you’re printing out grades, there’s a privacy issue,” Meckstroth said. “We could see an idea of where you print out your grades, and then if somebody else right after you prints out a test and they take the test and take it to repro and then they’ve now printed out all of your grades.”

Sustainability and energy conservation were possible issues involving individual printers during an email conversation between faculty members.

“Some people where saying ‘Well, is it sustainable to continue to print as much as we’re printing? Shouldn’t we be thinking about the environment?’” Luster said.

One possible resolution that will be considered is for faculty members to bring the printers being used in their current offices to the new building, in lieu of buying new ones.

“Seeing how it works right now, there are a lot of benefits to having our own printers,” said Anar Brahmbhatt, Assistant Chair of the Biology Department. “Sometimes there is confidential information that you don’t wanted printed out in front of everybody. [For] me personally, it’s nice to have your own printer, even if it’s an older model.”


Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp