by Kelly Kress, co-manager
After nearly a year of negotiating with Student Stores regarding textbook sales, matters have been taken to another level after the direct involvement of university officials makes selling textbooks harder still for Internationalist Books.
On February 3, University of North Carolina Provost Richard J. Richardson circulated a memorandum stating that faculty members must provide textbook lists to Student Stores, although they may share them with other stores since the lists are public documents. The memo was distributed to all deans, directors, and department heads and immediately brought to our attention by concerned faculty members. While Internationalist Books was not mentioned by name, we felt that this was clearly targeted to instructors who order texts from us.
A previous agreement made between Internationalist Books & Student Stores enabled professors to request "Stop" indicators be placed on course lists of books ordered from us, so that professors could inform the students about the store before the students purchasted their texts. But on April 14, Student Stores Course Materials Manager Regina Mahalek sent a letter to faculty members stating that Student Stores acted "erroneously and without authority" in forging this agreement with Internationalist Books. Consequently, instructors are now required to submit course lists directly to Student Stores and may not request "Stop" signs solely to support Internationalist Books. How all of this will affect us at this point is difficult to determine. We will be exploring alternate means of fundraising over the course of the summer, in the event that it becomes impossible to rely on textbook sales to carry the store financially. However, we are not giving up yet, and we will be brainstorming for ways to reach students and encourage them to support the bookstore. As before, a large part of this outreach burden falls on the instructors themselves, whose words in the classroom may be the first exposure a university student has to Internationalist Books.
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