Changes Coming to Printing Policy: The Law Weekly Investigates

Sam Pickett ‘21
Staff Editor

It was just last March that I was touring the Law School, and while I don’t remember much from that whirlwind of a visit, I distinctly remember the tour guide pointing to the Copy Center and proclaiming that we could use it to print our course materials and resumés for free. A better, more prepared future student asked if they would print it on special resumé paper. I (unaware that special resumé paper existed but suddenly intrigued) was excited to hear the tour guide affirm that, yes, we could even print it on special resumé paper.

Fast forward to November 2018, a few months after I made the questionable decision to attend law school, I began hearing rumors that the Copy Center would change its course materials and resumé policies. Eager to use the mighty power of journalism to flex the muscles of justice, I was prepared to do some hard-core interrogation. I arranged for a meeting with Troy Dunaway,[1] the Senior Assistant Dean for Business and Finance and overseer of printing. While I entered ready to “do some investigative journalism,” I left with a better understanding of how the printing system works now and what the changes will actually look like this spring.

What does the system look like now?

Students currently receive an allocation of $25.00 printing credits per semester. At 5 cents per page, that’s 500 pages a semester, with any unused credits rolling over to the next semester. That allocation is to be used as students please, but students are not expected to use it for printing course packs or resumés through the Copy Center. Course packs are instead printed in the Copy Center, where they can be picked up (or not) by students at the beginning of each semester. This system has resulted in “hundreds of thousands of pages” being wasted each semester, according to Dunaway, with many students opting to use the sources online instead of in print. In an effort to discourage waste, to bring UVA Law in line with its T14 peers, and to be more efficient with the Center’s resources, Dunaway is making a change.

What will the system look like Spring 2019?

Dunaway will be implementing an individualized course pack delivery model. Instead of having course materials already printed out upon students’ arrival, professors will put all of their materials online and students will be responsible for ordering these materials to the Copy Center themselves through an e-ticketing tool (this sounds like a lot of work, but it takes maybe thirty seconds). The cost will be subtracted from our printing credits. The allocation of printing credits, however, will be raised significantly to account for students’ increased printing needs. Dunaway has not yet decided how much the allocation will increase during this next trial semester, but he plans to raise the allocation enough to take the “price pressure” out of students’ decisions to print.[2] In other words, Dunaway will increase the printing allocation enough to allow students to print a full course-load of class materials and still be able to fulfill their other printing needs. Dunaway and his staff will then study the data on students’ needs in an on-demand print model and adjust the allocation accordingly. In this manner, the school hopes to promote more conscientious printing among students, which can help reduce the Law School’s significant paper waste.

            Students will also be relieved to know that they will continue to be able to print resumés for free at the Copy Center. Dunaway also seemed to think that they will continue the policy of printing future 1Ls materials for them during their fall semester, a service that this 1L expressed support for.

Considerations for Students

            Dunaway repeatedly stressed the experimental nature of this upcoming semester. He invites student feedback and hopes to continue improving upon the new individualized on-demand printing model. He says IT is ready to help students and faculty and that he has received support from both SBA and the Law School’s administrators.

            That being said, students should prepare to make some changes. With the new individualized nature of printing, they will need to account for some turnaround time when they order their materials. In other words, don’t wait until thirty minutes before your class to order the materials printed and bound. And, while the increased allocation should prevent students from paying anything out of pocket next semester, this may not be the case in the future. Thus, students should be prepared to use their printing credits wisely in the future to prevent having to add additional credits to their account.

[1] Dunaway has been key in organizing a number of important changes around the law school in recent years, including free resume printing (we didn’t always have that!) and the new coffee machines with compostable coffee grounds.

[2] It is worth noting that printing credits are not real money.  The only money you pay for printing is what you spend when you go over the printing quota.