In another cost-saving measure, the University is changing computer providers.
In June, Yale Information Technology Services announced a University-wide agreement in which all standard computers purchased through SciQuest — Yale’s online catalog and ordering system for electronics — will change from Dell to Lenovo. This change follows a recent review with the ITS Advisory Committee and a subsequent bidding process among PC companies to determine which computer provides the best value to the University, Associate Director in the Chief Information Office Susan West said. Although ITS administrators said this shift allows for more competitive pricing and greater convenience, some students and faculty raised questions regarding Yale’s switch from an American business to a Chinese vendor.
“Our PC committee weighed company location along with numerous other factors to select the winning vendor,” West responded. “All vendors considered have offshore manufacturing models; however, Lenovo ended up offering Yale the best value.”
In the initial announcement of the shift, Russell Sharp, Executive Director of the Chief Information Office, said that Lenovo PCs are priced 20 to 25 percent lower than their Dell equivalents. He added that transportation time will also be markedly quicker under the new agreement, with delivery for purchased computers occurring in days rather than weeks.
West said that over the course of a fiscal year, Yale orders around 3,000 new PCs.
Zach Johnson ’17, a student technician for Yale ITS, said he was not informed about the change by ITS administrators. However, he said one of the main motivations behind the switch may be cost. He said since Lenovo computers may be cheaper, they provide better value for their price than competing PCs.
He added that an alternate reason Yale may have changed from Dell to Lenovo was due to the relative popularity of each company among students. Johnson said that more students are bringing Lenovos to campus every year, and administrators have taken notice.
However, Yale faculty seemed largely unaware of the new computer policy. Of the 10 faculty members contacted, not a single individual was familiar with the change.
Computer science professor Bryan Ford said his department was not consulted about the change, adding that he had no knowledge of the new policy.
Computer Science director of undergraduate studies James Aspnes and chairman of computer science Joan Feigenbaum both said they were also unaware of the policy.
Despite the policy’s cost-saving measures, students and faculty remain divided on whether the University should buy computers from Dell, an American company, or Lenovo, a Chinese firm.
“Even if the Chinese company were a subsidiary of an American Company, it is not the proper thing to do,” said Joel Rosenbaum, a Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology professor. “Just how much could we be saving by doing this, and is it worth the American jobs?”
Liza Rodler ’17, a student technician for Yale ITS, said she believed Yale should purchase from the company that provides a better product.
She added that as a student technician, her main concern is not the politics of computers, but rather the logistics and support of each device.
“Yale should be working with what’s most efficient and that’s all,” she said.
West said Yale routinely considers and weighs many factors when making product and service decisions. She added the main objective of these decisions, however, is to deliver the best overall value to members of the Yale community.
Lenovo computers approved by Yale ITS include a ThinkCentre M93p, a Thinkstation S30, a Thinkpad T440p and a Thinkpad W540.