Printing Problems on Campus Cause Trouble for Student Body

A printer jam in the library printer causes delay and frustration for students trying to print before class. PHOTO BY MATT MCCORMACK

A printer jam in the library printer causes delay and frustration for students trying to print before class. PHOTO BY MATT MCCORMACK



Students express dismay about the printers on campus after feeling their difficulties are not heard.

The results of a 10-question survey created by The Columns reveal that students are discontent with the campus printers.  Students are unanimous in believing the printers have several problems on a daily basis, according to the results of 100 students surveyed.  Freshmen through seniors said not all computers are connected to the printers.  The students added that the printers frequently jam and run out of ink and paper.

“I think they [printers] always have a problem,” Siyuan Dong, ’17, said.  “Sometimes it really annoys me.”  Several computers are not connected to the printers causing difficulty for students trying to print their assignments.  Dong said that he has had to change computers until he can find one that prints.  He added that he has been late to class because of the printer problems.

Like Dong, Nyima Njie, ’15, said the printers are always having problems, usually because they jam and have low ink.  Njie added that it can take a whole day for the I.T. department to fix an issue with the printers.  “I usually ask the supervisors or student workers at the desk,” Njie said when she needs help printing in the library.  To help fix the printers, Njie suggested:  “Have more printers.  That’s the way to go.  You have an option in case one breaks down.”



As a circulation assistant in the library, Olivia Bailey, ’17, said at least once a week, students will come to her seeking help from a malfunctioned printer.  “Just this morning, someone said there was a printer jam,” Bailey said.  “Most of the time, people seem annoyed” when they come to her for advice on the printing issues, she added.

Bailey, too, has experienced problems with the printers.  She said she has made multiple trips between CSC and the library to print papers.  “I set aside a half hour if I know I have to print a paper,”  she said.  “I don’t even attempt to go to the Mac Lab to print.  I’ve never seen anyone print anything from the Mac Lab.”  Like Njie, Bailey said that less strain could be placed on the existing printers if more of them were added to campus.

The Columns took students’ concerns, including the results from the 10-question survey, to the Director of I.T., Mike McNellis, to learn what is being done to fix the printer problems on campus.  McNellis discussed the printing contract that Westminster uses with GFI Solutions, a company based out of Jefferson City.  When a technology problem is reported, McNellis said, “They [GFI Solutions] have a response time of four to eight hours.”  McNellis added that at least twice a week GFI is on campus servicing the printers.  He also said the printers are provided by GFI Solutions and that Westminster is in a printing contract with GFI Solutions until 2018.

McNellis attributed most printer problems to errors made by users.  “The majority of the time, the student has misdirected the print job to the wrong printer,” he said. If a student has an issue with printing, McNellis recommended, “Always give the help desk your first call.”

McNellis said that the new I.T. staff at Westminster, including Ryan Smith and Matthew Vore, is dedicated to building a better relationship between the I.T. Department and students.  “We want to build a culture where it’s known we want to help,” he said.  He went on to say that students who have a concern with the printers can complete a ticket at the I.T. help desk to have their issue addressed.

The I.T. Department is currently reviewing The Columns’ student survey to see how to best address the concerns of the student body.

After the interview with the Director of I.T., The Columns reached out to students.  “I actually kind of feel bad for the I.T. Department because they’re essentially understaffed,” Clarisse Leech, ’17, said.  Asked if I.T. could communicate better with students, Leech said: “If I.T. doesn’t know something is wrong, they can’t help.  At the same time, if students address their concerns and nothing is done, they [students] feel betrayed, which makes sense.”

Leech said there is either no communication or miscommunication between the I.T. department and the student body.  The ticket that students can fill out at the I.T. help desk to voice a concern was news to Leech.  “I think it would be a great idea if the tickets were placed next to the computers and printers.”  Leech said that students don’t realize they have the option of filling out a ticket.

The Columns will continue to stay on top of the printing concerns on campus and will check back with the I.T. Department in the coming weeks to see if solutions are found.  Stay tuned for an update on this developing story.

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