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Council May Continue Dispute Over University Copier Bill

By Jean E. Engelmayer

The undergraduate Council and College officials reached a tentative compromise last month over a copying bill dispute, but council officers said yesterday the matter was still unsettled.

Council members said they were surprised in mid-December by a $1100 bill for 39,000 copies made during a year and a half period on a University Hall machine they thought they could use for free.

Calling the matter a "legitimate misunderstanding" between the two organizations, Council Chairman Gregory S. Lyss '85 last month asked Martha C. Gefter, associate dean of the College, to let the student organization pay only half the amount owned.

In it two years of existence the council has averaged about 100 copies a day, at three cents a copy. Treasurer Eliot T. Kieval '84 said last month.


But a month after Gefter agreed to the compromise, the copying bill is still unpaid-and council officers said they will not sign the check until they have looked into the matter further.

Vice Chairman Brian R. Melendez '86 said last week that the council may have been "misled" by College officials who claim that other offices in University Hall also pay for copies on a page by a page basis.

He added that although he did not yet have any definite evidence, he doubted that other offices were paying anything more than a flat fee for copier use.

"If we find that they are being treated differently, we may try to push more negotiations or concessions," Melendez said.

Lyas added that if further investigation reveals that the council "has been dealt with fairly," the organization will pay the bill promptly. "I just want to be sure the council's being treated above board," he explained.

University Hall officials have permitted the group to use its copier for the last two years. Other student organizations do not have that same privilege, Gefter said.

"It was a real exception to let them use it in the first place," she explained, adding that "they should carry their freight."

Gefter said that the College is charging the council because it is an "autonomous" organization which rents University office space and has a budget for administrative expenses.

Most of the council's administrative budget of $20,000 goes to cover office rent and the salary of its executive secretary.

Gefter said yesterday that she was surprised by the council's delay in paying the bill, adding that "I had hoped that the understanding we reached had settled, the matter."

"As far as I'm concerned, that is still a legitimate agreement," she added.

In the meantime, council members are trying to reduce the amount of paper members use for copies of grant applications and weekly meeting packets and have started to use Harvard's central copying service in Memorial Hall instead of the University Hall machine. The central service charges only 2.25 cents per copy for University Departments.

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