Cal Poly students could see reduced textbook prices beginning next winter. A recent Academic Senate recommendation would require teachers to submit their textbook requisitions at least six weeks before the start of upcoming academic quarters.
If President Warren Baker signs the resolution, it will take effect July 2007. Because fall quarter textbook orders must go in before Cal Poly faculty leave for the summer, the effect of the resolution would not be felt until January 2008.
“Until (Baker) signs it, it’s still a recommendation,” said Andrew Schaffner, head of the committee that drafted the resolution and statistics professor. “It should be a done deal. Some policy about textbooks has to go in effect.”
One of the goals of the new rule is to benefit students with disabilities or special needs; earlier requisition will allow El Corral Bookstore to acquire non-standard course materials for those students.
Landscape architecture professor Gary Clay, senate representative from the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, endorses the intention of the resolution.
“Cal Poly should take a leadership role in making sure there’s adequate access for everyone,” he said.
Clay also said there were many long deliberations on some of the potential problems the new requirements might cause. He outlined a situation in which a faculty member is hired a matter of days before the quarter begins and has not had the ability to submit textbook requisitions before the deadline.
“We actually had long deliberations on this,” Clay said. “The intent is to do the right thing. There was an air of nobility in what we tried to do.”
For students, the resolution might help reduce the cost of textbooks via increased buyback prices. El Corral Bookstore director Frank Cawley said that because the bookstore has more advanced notice of what books will be required for the upcoming quarter, they can offer higher buyback prices for books that teachers will need to use again.
“We would like to give students back as much money as possible,” Cawley said.
He also estimated that only 30 percent of current textbook requisitions are submitted to El Corral before the buyback period begins; the new resolution should drastically increase that number.
In fact, El Corral was very involved in the process of drafting the bill.
“The faculty felt it was an issue,” Cawley said about the senate. “We were very involved in the process. We are the experts in textbooks.”
“I think it really helps the bookstore out,” Clay said.