IMAGinE what Xerox can do for the U of C

By Chris Beauchamp

The University of Calgary is negotiating a new partnership with Xerox Canada hoping to make the university’s document and record management systems as efficient as possible.

The IMAGinE project could save the U of C up to 20 per cent of the $10 million spent yearly on printing and photocopying costs, said project director Theresa Mueller.

Although Mueller stressed IMAGinE will not involve job losses or the outsourcing of existing services to Xerox, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Local 52 Chair Shirley Maki raised concerns about the project.

“We don’t know what Xerox has planned,” said Maki, noting the union has not yet been privy to negotiations.

Following the privatization of U of C Food Services earlier this summer, some AUPE members are concerned future decisions to outsource services such as printing may be made without union input. However, Maki noted there are new procedures in place to ensure AUPE a place at the table with the U of C and Xerox.

Mueller said the mediated settlement between AUPE and the U of C following the outsourcing of Food Services has resulted in the inclusion of the union in discussions which may involve future job losses.

“The university is using this project as the model,” said Mueller.

Maki also said the implications of the US Patriot Act on IMAGinE need to be resolved. Concerns are being raised that electronic documents in the control of Xerox will be subject to US government scrutiny and may jeopardize the confidentiality of personal information. She said the issue will be brought up with the U of C.

Mueller acknowledged the concern.

“Surely we will examine any US legislation that impacts any software we use,” said Mueller, adding all implications will be fully disclosed. “This is something we live with already.”

The project has three major focuses, said Mueller. The office portion includes the upgrade and installation of hardware such as photocopiers, printers and scanners–a process known as fleet management.

As well, U of C Printing Services will be upgraded and the U of C will embark on a campaign to start filing documents and records electronically.

“Right now the university has a lot of its documents in paper in file cabinets,” said Mueller. “IMAGinE will create more efficiency in the handling of the many, many records.”

The partnership will include internship and co-op opportunities for students.

Xerox won the right to negotiate the partnership from among a number of companies who responded to a U of C request for proposal this spring. Negotiations will get underway in earnest during the Fall semester.

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