A new university printing program had some faculty worried about potential Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) violations and inconveniences at Monday’s Faculty Senate meeting in Keen Johnson.
Steve Caudill, finance and administration business officer, gave a presentation on the EKU printing program, the university’s effort to cut back on printing costs while introducing a network of brand new Kyocera printers. Under this program, introduced by the Budget Advisory Committee last spring, existing inkjet printers will be replaced with new toner-based printers and potentially be moved to more central locations in each department. This left faculty concerned about the implications the program could have on student privacy and advising.
EKU expects to save about $75,000 a year from the program, Caudill said. The university implemented a similar change with department copiers about 10 years ago, which has since saved roughly $235,000, Caudill said. Still, faculty were concerned they were being asked to do more with less.
Faculty senator Kristen Brewer, assistant professor of corporate communication and technology, read concerns from those in her department off of her phone.
“I don’t feel comfortable—and the student wouldn’t either—if printing a grade sheet for a student with their name, ID number and grades to a public shared-printer,” Brewer read. “This violates student privacy policies and laws. Additionally, because I have exam copies, student information and others stored in my office, I don’t feel comfortable leaving the student alone in my office for a few minutes while I walk to the printer to pick up the sheet of paper I needed to print.”
Other faculty found the idea of transitioning to centrally-located printers wasteful.
The centralized printers could result in more paper waste, Brewer read in another statement from department faculty. Without personal printers, advisers would have to print all DegreeWorks documents out prior to meeting with students. Since many students bring their own copies, faculty would have to throw those copies away, she read.
Under the program, one faculty printer may serve as the printer for three or four other faculty offices, but may also not, Caudill said. That depends on what needs have to be met within each department.
Caudill assured faculty that EKU would not allow instances of FERPA violation to happen and that faculty members’ jobs would not be made harder.
“We are committed to making sure there is no service drop with this,” Caudill said.
Faculty can still purchase personal printers for their offices as long as university funds aren’t used, Caudill said. The new printing policy mandates that all departments purchase color printers through the program, which will be added to the campus printing network. The program will handle all toner and maintenance costs, serviced by Commonwealth Technology.
Caudill said the program should offer a “level playing field” of printing across campus, since some departments previously had better access to printers. As a first step, all printers currently connected to the network will be replaced with new network printers. Caudill said he believes this and other steps in the program will correctly re-size the “printer fleet” across campus and improve printer service.
Charges will still go through EKU Printing, Design and Copying, although costs of printing will change. The cost of printing one black and white page will be 1.7 cents, while one color page will cost 12 cents.
Coming off of a year that saw EKU programs, jobs and athletic teams eliminated, Faculty Senate chair Matthew Winslow urged faculty to stay proactive in his opening remarks. While Frankfort has announced it won’t cut university funding again this year, Winslow said, they’ve proven themselves hard to predict.
“We must become a nimble and forward-looking institution if we want to remain the same sort of institution we are accustomed to, and hopefully improve,” Winslow said. “So now is the time to gather all of our best ideas and to think about ways that we can improve Eastern going forward. And the Senate is as good a place to start to gather these ideas as anywhere else on campus.
To encourage thinking forward, Winslow introduced “EKU Forward,” a 10-minute discussion period for faculty to bring up their concerns before each meeting. Faculty senator Todd Hartch, a professor in the Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies, brought attention to the quality of faculty and staff offices in Keith.
“I know that where I work, we don’t have good heating or air conditioning, and we don’t have hot water,” Hartch said. “The water is unsafe to drink, the hallways are not cleaned well, our offices don’t seem to be cleaned anymore, and so… I’m happy to have an office and a roof over my head, but it just doesn’t seem to be very conducive to serious academic work, and I think it’s got to be discouraging to our students and majors.”
Winslow also provided an update on EKU’s search for a new provost. The provost search committee met on Sept. 11 to narrow a selection of 40 to 50 candidates down to 10 or 12. Those candidates will go through video interviews next week before narrowing down to a selection of three to five. The committee expects the top candidates will make visits to campus the first week of October, Winslow said.
“We will need to have a new provost who sees the Faculty Senate as a resource and an ally,” Winslow said.
Other highlights from the meeting included:
Former Kentucky Assistant Attorney General Amy Bensenhaver gave a presentation on state open meeting laws, saying “the public's right to know transcends efficiency.”
Faculty Senate agreed to award a posthumous degree to fire and safety student Mohannad Alrayes, who died in an automobile accident in July.
New Student Government Association (SGA) President Ryan Wiggins made his first appearance at Faculty Senate, stating his goals to strengthen the Colonel Pride program and increase funding for the SGA Diversity Grant Fund.