College goes corporate

To new students, the changes to the campus bookstore are not even changes – the way the bookstore looks now is the only way they know the bookstore to be. Students who’ve been on campus before this fall remember Weiner Wednesday, $1 coffee and cheap snacks and they’re lamenting the loss of one of the homiest and most individual spaces on campus.

Former Clackamas Community College President Joanne Truesdell began the framework in the 2016-17 school year to decide which of three companies to bring into CCC to help the bookstore create a profit, rather than have the school subsidize the bookstore to keep it afloat. Between now and June 2o21 Barnes & Noble will continue to operate in the CCC bookstore. The school is guaranteed $200,000 in the contract’s first year, or 8 percent, 10 percent or 12 percent of all gross sales as per the contract – the terms are similar in the following years.

From missing their daily Hot Pockets to mourning the loss of their favorite brands of tea, students miss the individuality and number of products that used to be offered in years passed. The new college president is seeing how the changes are playing out.

“I’ve heard concerns and have concerns myself about what the reasons were for that and what the benefit is for students is going to be and for faculty and staff as well,” CCC President Tim Cook said about the addition of Barnes & Noble to the CCC bookstore. “I know I’ve gone through the bookstore a few times and I guess I was surprised. I thought we’d have more in there and have more – more a lot of things. I go in about once a week and just check it out because what I’ve been told is that they’re continuing to add and they’re continuing to work on that.”

With tuition already up an extra $7 per credit from the 2017-18 school year, many students already faced a tighter budget going into the new 2018-19 school year.

Extra costs on food, books and supplies from the bookstore are something they cannot afford. “I believe there are more opportunities to rent and more digital options for students – the college was very focused on low-cost textbooks for students, so we’re continuing to support that,” bookstore director Carol DeSau said.

Students, however, have expressed a different sentiment about the prices in the bookstore combined with the yearly tuition raise. “There are a few classes I really wanted to explore and take so badly, I was just too afraid I couldn’t afford it,” Daisy Saucedo said. “Before classes started I checked online for what books I needed and it said I only needed one. However, in my first week I had to go buy a bunch of books which was super upsetting for my wallet.”

CCC librarian Jane Littlefield and many faculty members requested to read the contract to see what changes would be made on campus.

“There’s language in here about exclusivity clauses of what Barnes & Noble basically dictates, what faculty can and cannot put on their Moodle sites regarding where students would be purchasing their textbooks from. To a lot of us it read as Barnes & Noble gets to say what you can and can’t tell your students,” Littlefield said.

Littlefield said students and instructors have options outside of the bookstore including Open Educational Resources, and services offered in the CCC library such as their Course Reserve option. Open Educational Resources are textbooks, videos, workbooks and more – materials students are paying for codes to access can be found for free online. Open Educational Resources are created by scholars, academics, teachers and researchers with open copyrights specifically so that students may access high-quality materials without having to pay inflated store prices.

The CCC Course Reserve program is another resource mandated by the college to be available to CCC students. All instructors are supposed to have a copy of their class’ text available in their office, or on reserve for the term in the library for students to access outside of class time.