As a new semester starts, students are preparing for (or desperately avoiding) another enormous textbook bill. The Student Caucus regrets to report that a recommendation from the Student Budget Consultation Report 2017/18 to provide short-term relief has so far been dismissed.
Students identified course materials as a priority area for improvement, and the key issue is the growing unaffordability of textbooks. While the Student Caucus is working on a long-term solution in free, open textbooks, it also recommended that TRU establish a comprehensive system of textbooks on reserve in the Library to provide immediate help.
“Students can hardly succeed if they can’t afford course materials,” said Brian Chiduuro, President and Student Caucus Chair, “If student success is really one of TRU’s Strategic Priorities, a textbook reserve program should be an urgent project.”
According to University Librarian, Brenda Mathenia, however, “The Library budget cannot sustain the buying of textbooks to support all courses… the textbooks have little to no lasting value for an academic library. As such, it is the policy of the TRU Library not to buy textbooks.” Mathenia noted that the Library does place textbooks on reserve when instructors provide them, and promotes the use of open educational resources and other cost-effective alternatives to commercial textbooks.
“We are pleased to work with the Library to promote alternatives,” Chiduuro continued, “but in the meantime it is unacceptable to leave students shouldering the full burden with no help at all.”
Without the support of a textbook reserve system, increasing the use of open textbooks is more urgent than ever. Check out the Open Textbooks campaign to sign the petition calling for a program to create open textbooks here at TRU!
To stay up-to-date on all of TRU’s responses to your priorities, check out the Student Budget Consultation webpage!
For more information contact:
Student Caucus Chair