After a lengthy and heated discussion, Student Government (SG) Senate approved an unallocated cash request that would make it possible to increase students’ allowable daily free prints from $2.50 to $3.
Student Body President Moneer Kheireddine presented the $45,000 request to Senate on Tuesday and 42 senators voted yes while seven voted no.
Assuming Kheireddine will sign off on the request since he made it, it’s likely that the increase in free prints will be implemented within a week or so, according to him.
Printing at USF costs students 11 cents per black-and-white page and 22 cents per color page. With the current $2.50 allocation, about 22 black-and-white pages and about 11 color pages can be printed before charging students. With the $3 allocation, students can print roughly 27 black-and-white pages and 13 pages in color.
Although this request — which would increase free prints for the first time since 2005, according to Kheireddine — passed with a wide margin, many Senators expressed weariness of the request during the discussion period.
Some Senators also suggested that even if there is no need, students will not turn down an increase of free services.
“We’ve had the same amount for over five years and it hasn’t been a huge issue like people haven’t gone crazy over their prints or anything,” Sen. Sofia Araripe of the College of Engineering said. “If you’re going to give candy to kids, they’re going to accept it.”
Kheireddine, however, maintained that an increase in free prints is necessary to improve students’ education and convenience.
“Every time we (Khiereddine and Student Body Vice President Shaquille Kent) would outreach to the student body, it was almost always a consistent response that students aren’t getting enough prints,” Kheireddine said.
Students’ “free” prints are actually funded through the Activity and Service fee, which every student pays as a part of their tuition.
Currently, SG gives RICOH, the company that contracts printing services to USF, $240,000 to cover the $2.50 print allocation. According to Kheireddine, this amount does not cover the actual cost of this current allocation, but RICOH covers the remainder to make it possible.
Kheireddine conducted a trial run during the 2017-18 academic year in which students were allocated $3 for a short period of time. RICOH determined that $60,000 would be required to fully fund the $0.50 increase in prints.
In Tuesday’s Senate meeting, Kheireddine said the printing budget currently has $255,000 out of the $300,000 needed, explaining the $45,000 request.
However, the original $60,000 request was initially made and approved last year, but because of the 15 percent across-the-board cuts made by SG Senate to new initiatives like this one, it was unable to be followed through on.
Kheireddine said that the passage of this request could put SG in a positive light.
“Even if students aren’t using the full amount, every student is going to see that their free amount went up and that Student Government did it,” Kheireddine said.
This was brought up in the discussion, though with some senators saying it was irresponsible to approve something just because it is likely an idea that is popular with students.
“I’m just not absolutely sure that there’s a demand for this,” Sen. Gruhonjic Hanan said. “I’d like to see more poll numbers or some actual data … rather than spending almost $50,000 to up our appearance in front of the student body, so people will like us more.”
In her discussion point, Sen. Laura Diaz stressed the importance of the increase in free prints given that students use this to print study materials, as well as assignments often.
“I don’t know why you guys are thinking this is so crazy,” Diaz said. “This is a little bit of money for the amount of people it’s going to help.”
Regardless of the discussion points though, senators did vote overwhelmingly in favor so it is likely students will see the increase soon, although an official day has not been announced.
“This is a pretty essential service,” Kheireddine said.