Student Senate votes against signing SDS book petition

Students for a Democratic Society presented their petition to have a textbook list available to students two weeks prior to the semester to members of Student Senate on Thursday, Feb. 26.

Returning on Thursday, March 12, they were denied the support of the senate on a 19-4 vote.

“We wanted the support of the organization,” said Paul Sayko, member of SDS. “If we’re going to get this up and running by summer classes we need to start now.”

Shannon Farrelly, president of Student Senate, is in support of the idea that SDS is presenting, but believes it would be too difficult to get the list together before fall 2009.

According to Farrelly, it has never been a tradition of Student Senate to sign petitions, although they do support the idea of having textbooks available to students at an earlier time.

After being turned down by Student Senate, SDS went to individual departments to get support.

Chair of the social work department, Kathryn Gregoire, already posts a list of required textbooks for students in the masters program. Students can even post used books to sell to classmates on a discussion board that only social work majors have access to.

With 70 graduate students and over 200 undergraduates, Gregoire has been working hard to get a list together for all students in the program.

“We decided we’re going to begin talking with the chairperson of each department to see if it would be feasible for a booklist to be created and made accessible for students prior to the start of the semester,” said Josh Redd of SDS. “The social work department even showed us how they utilize Blackboard to post the booklist and allow majors to communicate with each other to find used copies of books.”

By July 2, 2010 professors will be required to list textbooks as a result of the Higher Education Opportunity Act. Student Services is hoping to work together on this and have an available list by fall 2009.

“Student Services doesn’t have to do this,” Farrelly said. “It’s required of the University, not the bookstore, but they’re going to work together with us to have it come from a central location rather than multiple departments.”

Farrelly believes it would be too difficult to have a list available by summer of 2009.

“It’s already going to happen, and rushing into it for summer classes would be very difficult,” Farrelly said.

SDS plans to continue approaching other departments for support to get the book list by summer session.