New UA book policy criticized as illegal
A university policy forcing all professors to make their books available through the UA Associated Students Bookstore has been called illegal by some of its critics.
"We've always had the expectation that faculty will make books available at the campus bookstore," said Michael Gottfredson, the policy's writer, interim provost and vice president for undergraduate education. "We want to enhance the accessibility (of books) for students."
However, one UA professor and a local bookstore owner called the policy change unlawful.
Trudy Mills, co-owner of Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave., said the decision crosses legal boundaries protecting small businesses.
"The policy is legally and morally wrong," Mills said. "The university allows professors to put their packets at private copy centers (off-campus). We've been puzzled as to why they allow that to happen."
Gottfredson refused to comment on the legality of the policy, but said the university is still deliberating as to whether other course materials, such as calculators and reading packets, should also be available at the campus bookstore.
Associate history professor Laura Tabili said UA administrators should help save students' money and not attempt to make a profit.
"The university had been trying to bully faculty into using the ASUA Bookstore for years," she said. "They should be in favor of teachers getting the best deal for students."
Gottfredson said he was "all in favor of getting the best deal for students," adding that there is nothing to prevent professors from distributing their booklists to off-campus retailers. He said he encourages students to shop around before purchasing texts.
ASUA Bookstore Director Frank Farias said he did not think the policy change would interrupt business, but that professors should place orders as early as possible.
"We tell them the time frames we'd ideally like to get that information," he said. "We process the orders as they come in."
Gale Elliott, a manager at Arizona Bookstore, 815 N. Park Ave., said the university's decision will have a positive impact on the off-campus retailer.
"It's always been standard policy to order through the (campus) bookstore and we get those orders also," Elliott said. "It'll probably help us."
But Mills said Gottfredson's policy could be "harmful" to her sales at Antigone.
This semester, Antigone, a feminist bookseller, carries books for about 30 classes, including English, sociology, education and history, Mills said.
Early last month, Rep. Linda Gray, R-Phoenix, took issue with the feminist bookstore because students complained that they had to go off-campus to purchase texts.
Gray also introduced legislation that threatened to eliminate the UA's Women's Studies Department.
But Gray later abandoned her proposal, saying she would reconsider introducing the legislation if the department does not adopt a more conservative attitude.
Mills and Elliott attributed the UA's policy change to the recent legislative controversy about Antigone.
"We think for the university to cave in to homophobia is wrong," Mills said.