USS supports lowering student textbook costs

Kelly Pickerel

Undergraduate Student Senate passed a resolution in support for Ohio Senate Bill 151 at last night’s meeting. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Tom Roberts, addresses the problem of growing costs of higher education and textbooks.

The bill would make higher education institutions decrease costs of textbooks and other reading materials and have bookstores buy back materials for at least half the resale price.

John Wetmore, senator for governmental affairs, said that, while Senate Bill 151 is a step in the right direction, he has been looking into ways to get tax-free textbooks to Kent State.

“This bill is more of a short term resolution, while tax-free textbooks is a long term resolution,” he said. “I’m glad to see that (Ohio) Senate took initiative without a push from universities.”

Also discussed at the meeting was the possibility of starting a virtual online discussion board for all students.

Elizabeth Eckels, senator for student relations, asked the senate whether a discussion board would be “a goal worth sticking to or a waste of time.”

“I want this to be something students are interested in,” she said. “It’s a way to get a better pulse of student opinions.”

The senators offered a variety of ideas to get the discussion board off the ground, from using FlashLine to WebCT. They did all agree that it would be something to look into.

“Everyone has an opinion, and everyone loves to give it,” said Jonithon LaCross, senator for university affairs. “That’s why Facebook is so great – it builds community.”

Student Legal Services, a campus organization that helps identify and resolve legal problems, also attended the meeting to update the senators on how USS funds are being spent.

“The last couple months have been slower than expected, but it has picked back up for October,” said Jamison Offineer, paralegal and office administrator. “Hopefully it will continue to rise.”

Senior staff attorney Carol Crimi said the Recording Industry Association of America and its lawsuits against student downloaders caused a lot of concern on campus recently.

“This is a serious thing, and anything USS can do to discourage unlawful downloading is encouraged,” she said.

Crimi also discussed the revised noise ordinance and the party nuisance ordinance in the area. If students are cited for violating a noise or party ordinance, Crimi said they can come to Student Legal Services, and they can try to reduce the fines.

USS meetings are at 4 p.m. Wednesdays in the Student Center Governance Chambers.

Contact student politics reporter Kelly Pickerel at [email protected]