Textbooks and the Budget

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Textbooks

StuCo held an event on Monday, November 16th, to create a dialogue between faculty, staff, and students on options for lowering textbook costs. The event was well attended by faculty and staff with several students also contributing to the discussion. According to StuCo member Angela Meng ‘12, no agreement was reached on what should be done to lower textbook costs, but the event was important to “get the ball rolling.”

More information from Monday night’s “textbook forum” can be viewed here.

StuCo also discussed asking the provost to possibly give a presentation at a coming faculty meeting on online e-books and other forms of textbooks that would not require students to pay as much for class supplies.

StuCo members also talked about encouraging students to sell their used textbooks back to the bookstore so that the bookstore can offer lower prices as a result of eliminating shipping fees. Another suggestion made by StuCo members was to ask professors to create syllabi early so that the bookstore and students may look for the best book prices.

Budget

The Ad Hoc Committee will be meeting on Thursday, December 3rd, to finalize their budget cut suggestions before the Board of Managers meeting on the 4th and 5th. At this meeting, SFAP will present the effects of the proposed budget cuts from a student viewpoint.

StuCo and SFAP will make a presentation during the Student Affairs section of the Board of Managers meeting on Friday, December 4th. The groups hope to give insight on the effects of the budget cuts in academics, the Dean’s office, facilities, libraries, athletics, and financial aid on Swarthmore students. Over the coming weeks, StuCo will be speaking with staff and students in these departments to analyze these cuts.

Although StuCo and SFAP are separate groups, they are working to coordinate their messages to the Board of Managers. According to Nate Erskine ’10, Vice President of Student Council, “a message to the administration will be more effective if we can reach agreement about major issues in the two committees.”

StuCo and SFAP plan to give special attention to the proposed financial aid cuts during the presentations to the Ad Hoc Committee and to the Board of Managers. During the meeting, some StuCo members expressed concern with changes in financial aid calculation, saying that they do not believe students should be expected to increase work-study hours.

Other members hoped that the question of loans would be opened to the student body so that they might give input. However, many agreed that they wish not to revert back to mandatory loans. Some StuCo members have suggested that no cuts be made to financial aid, but it was agreed that StuCo would not endorse statements telling the Board and administrators that the cuts should be removed until the consequences of this are clear.

StuCo hopes that their presentations to the Ad Hoc Committee, and the Board will accurately depict the student body’s views on budget cuts. StuCo articulated a feeling of responsibility to comment on student life and to illustrate the effect of the cuts on the student experience.

Miscellaneous

  • Students interested in running for Student Council must submit platforms by Sunday, November 29th.
  • The Media shuttle will run on December 4th and 5th. The schedule is being finalized but the shuttle should be at Swat at least every 30 minutes.
  • The bike share program was approved by the SBC. Half of the bikes will be bought from Chester Bike Works and the other half will come from Swarthmore Cycles. Swarthmore Cycles will also be paid a flat rate each semester to perform maintenance and repairs on the bikes.
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