Thank you for covering our most recent campus-wide campaign concerning textbook affordability. I want to address some concerns that have been expressed about the full implications of the campaign

Soto responds to textbook concerns

Thank you for covering our most recent campus-wide campaign concerning textbook affordability. I want to address some concerns that have been expressed about the full implications of the campaign:Please let it be clear that this campaign is in no way meant to be adversarial with the faculty on the Portland State campus. I am very much aware of the vast responsibilities professors undertake every day on this campus. The faculty members at PSU earn less than their contemporaries at other Oregon universities and teach more credits per term.

Faculty are currently in negotiations for a much-needed cost of living pay increase. ASPSU strongly supports faculty because we all know that they are largely underpaid and overworked. It is important that university administrators prioritize funds to pay our professors at a level where we don’t continue the trend of our qualified professors leaving for better paying jobs in other states.

In ASPSU’s effort to save students from paying more than necessary, we’ve asked for professors to turn in their book requests to the bookstore in a timely manner. When professors are behind on the deadline, for whatever reason, students often end up paying more for textbooks.

I hope students and faculty alike understand that we have an opportunity to bring many more used textbooks into the bookstore. I thank the professors who have turned in their textbook requests on time. I ask that the professors who have not turned in their requests to please do so. If anyone has any concerns, please contact me directly at [email protected] or stop by the ASPSU office in Smith Memorial Student Union, room 117.

Rudy SotoASPSU President

Professors, students working together

I am writing to provide The Vanguard and the campus community with my thoughts on the ASPSU Textbook Affordability Campaign. I believe that most PSU faculty are sympathetic to student concerns about the rising costs of higher education, and understand that textbooks play a significant role in a student’s limited budget.

As PSU-AAUP president, I met with the leadership of ASPSU and agreed to work with students on the issue of textbook affordability. I’ve received largely positive feedback from faculty, but have also heard from some that the campaign can be perceived to have an “adversarial tone,” pitting students against faculty. I understand how such a perception can come about, given the Vanguard headline: “For cheaper texts, student body tells faculty to act now.” This perception is further developed later in the article, where it is suggested that professors are “procrastinating” and that the focus is “on pressuring professors to turn in course requests.” I think this language is unfortunate because-having met with Rudy Soto and Brad Vehafric–I personally feel completely comfortable with our agreement to work with students on their campaign. I didn’t get the feeling I was being “pressured” or “told”; I would’ve used the words “encouraged” and “asked.”

I encourage faculty to work with students on this issue, and I also encourage students to be sensitive to the increasing workloads your faculty struggle with every term. Together, I think we can help each other out.

Gary R. BrodowiczPSU-AAUP President

Textbook exchange is not enough

Something must be said about the soundness of the textbook plan promoted by ASPSU. This plan can bring only temporary benefits for a deeply set issue in the way the textbook industry functions. Currently, five major publishing companies have a stranglehold on the market, meaning little competition exists to keep the prices low, and students are caught in a chain of dependency with professors in the middle and the producers at the beginning. The professors only control the demand, not the supply. To actually alter the conditions for students on campus, ASPSU needs to attack the problem at its source.

To alter the condition we find ourselves in, Rudy needs to devise something sustainable that isn’t just a band-aid on a broken arm. We need programs at PSU that effectively circumvent buying directly from the producers. This can be done on a small scale by institutionalizing a textbook exchange or on a large scale by fueling a mass movement around a general boycott. These options will promote consciousness of the power we have as students to change our economic conditions. Anything else is just a gesture to keep us satisfied with the way things are.

Jesse Anderson

Unisex bathrooms do exist here

The article that appeared in your Tuesday, Nov. 13 edition, “More transgender bathrooms in rec center, please,” was incorrect at best. Over the past year, the building design committee has been working with a broad representation of campus groups, including the Sex And Gender Equality (SAGE) task force. Unisex (gender-neutral restrooms) and private changing cubicles have been an integral part of the design from the start. As the design continues to be refined, we have been working collaboratively to create the best student facility possible. At the Nov. 5 meeting, the most current plans were reviewed to identify possible ways to further improve the facility for all student users. The single-occupant unisex restrooms were planned on the first, second, fourth and sixth floors, and changing cubicles were provided in the locker rooms. At the meeting, the decision was made to relocate the women’s changing cubicles closer to the showers.

In their Nov. 6 memo to the director of facilities and planning, the SAGE co-chairs stated, “SAGE would like to take this opportunity to extend our sincere gratitude to you and your department for working with us this past year regarding safety and accessibility for transgender and queer student/faculty/staff within the new Academic & Student Recreation Center.” This is in direct conflict with the Nov. 13 article opening statement that “SAGE is hoping to increase the number of gender-neutral bathrooms in the new recreation center, after meetings with building planners last week.”

Earnest Tipton

ASPSU favors switch to Chavez from Interstate

Aargh, thank you ASPSU for buying in to the bull on this issue. People who are using this issue as a soapbox and bullying the city into doing what the citizens of the area don’t want them to is wrong, in my opinion! It isn’t a matter of being against illegal immigration or being anti-Latino-it’s about not wanting your street name changed! Why does Interstate, a street with a rich history and active community, need, need, need to be the one that is changed? The most important people to listen to when changing a street name are the people who live and work on that street-look at how smoothly Naito Parkway went. Why? Because the people were asked, and they agreed. I question the motives of anyone who questions the integrity of a man trying to find a compromise, with which everyone is happy, not a select few.

Alicyn Henning