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Electronic reserves resolution passes

Kaitlynn Riely | Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Student Senate passed a resolution Wednesday that encourages professors to increase their use of electronic reserves in place of course packets, which spiked in price this year.

The resolution, presented by Senate Academic Affairs chair Carol Hendrickson and Fisher senator Stephen Bant, “respectfully encourages” professors to use electronic reserves instead of course packets “when it seems in the best interests of their students based on the price and convenience of the materials.”

A similar resolution was presented to the Senate on Oct. 31 but failed to pass. High course packet prices have been discussed in the Senate over the past several weeks. Hendrickson and Bant conducted an e-mail survey of students last month and found that the majority of those who answered were unhappy with the higher prices of course packets.

This semester, the packets were sold at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore instead of copy centers around campus, as was done in the past. The Bookstore added a profit markup, resulting in complaints from students about the high prices they were paying for course materials.

At the Oct. 17 Senate meeting, senators passed a resolution recommending course packets no longer be sold exclusively through the Bookstore, but rather from campus copy centers, like those in Decio and O’Shaughnessy Halls.

The senators were less receptive to the version of the resolution presented two weeks ago, which recommended professors increase their use of e-reserves to be environmentally friendly.

The resolution presented Wednesday omitted that assertion and also included more research to show that students would be in support of a switch to e-reserves.

“We are confident with our additional research … that we have a better resolution to present to you today,” Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson and Bant gave a PowerPoint presentation in support of their resolution. Their survey, Bant said, showed that 67.3 percent of students were “very dissatisfied” with course packet costs.

Unlike with course packets, students will not have to pay for markup or copyright costs using e-reserves through University Libraries. According to the resolution, the University Libraries’ Course Reserves department has said it is “willing and able” to put more academic materials on electronic reserves, and also “willing and able to cover current and future copyright costs for any materials they allow to be placed on e-reserves.”

Bant and Hendrickson gave other reasons why a switch to e-reserves would benefit students and faculty. Faculty members would have more flexibility in adding materials to the e-reserves at points during the semester, Hendrickson said. E-reserves are available anywhere one has a computer and an Internet connection, Bant said.

Students can use their yearlong $100 print quota if they choose to print their articles. That would allow students to print 1,000 sheets of paper.

Students can currently add money to their print quotas in 115A DeBartolo Hall. The Senate passed a resolution Nov. 7 encouraging the Office of Information Technologies (OIT) to establish an online system for increasing printing quota, so students could use a credit or debit card to increase their print quota online, rather than going to the DeBartolo classroom.

Hendrickson said she is working with OIT, and that right now, a print quota depository system is in the works.

Hendrickson and Bant encouraged the senators to support their resolution.

“We do not expect unanimity across campus or Senate,” Hendrickson said. “But considering the student body at large, after extensive research, and much deliberation, our committee has concluded that this option is the best for the majority of students.”

The resolution passed with 18 senators voting for it and three against it.

Some senators left before the meeting was over, so the Senate did not have quorum and was unable to conduct any new business after the e-reserves vote.

The amendment proposed by Siegfried senator Jim Lockwood, which asks the student body president to report the events that occur at Community/Campus Advisory Coalition meetings, will be discussed at the next Senate meeting.

In other Senate news:

Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves spoke to the Senate for more than 30 minutes about campus development plans for the next year or two. Using a detailed PowerPoint presentation, he walked the senators through the plan for the campus, showing architectural drawings of construction projects. Affleck-Graves pointed out Duncan Hall, a male residence hall to open next fall; the new Law School, Stinson-Remick Hall, the new engineering building; athletic facilities development; and Eddy Street Commons.

“The building that’s going on on campus is there to provide more opportunities for you,” Affleck-Graves told the senators. “It’s just the fact of modern universities that you grow.”