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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Brandeis: Milking nickels and dimes from the students

Published: September 8, 2006
Section: Opinions

The University Bookstore has become ceaseless in its desire to gut the return policy and steal money from the student body. The policy change offers little benefit to our students and our Student Union and Administration must come to the aid of the students.
Over the summer, our University Bookstore has changed its previously inconvenient return policy to an absolutely demonic one. Formerly, students were afforded to until the end of the add/drop period to return books. However, the return period now lasts a mere 7 days into the semester, only giving students until Sept. 7 to return books: a whole week before the add/drop period ends. The Bookstore added a policy that allows students to return books until Sept. 30 provided they can supply “a proof of schedule change.” While this extends the formerly premature return date, it also creates a significant hassle for students during the shopping period. Additionally, the last date to drop a class without penalty is Oct. 6, so why must students not be allowed to return their books if they drop their class?
The policy change came from Barnes & Noble, who is responsible for managing the Brandeis Bookstore, suggesting that the company is concerned with losing revenue to independent, online, and used book sellers. However, it is completely unjust that students are punished for the rise in internet sales. Barnes & Noble's retail stores have kept their 30-day return policy, thus constricting students in a monopolistic setting while leaving their average consumers alone.
While the University Administration did not change the policy themselves, they are still culpable for reaping extensive fiscal benefits from Barnes & Noble's unfair policies. The Student Union, who, according to their project tracker, has remained silent on the issue, should stand up for the consumer rights of the student body and help reject these policy changes. It is also up to the administration to fight against these changes in all its capacity and promise that it will cut ties with the company if its return policy does not change.

Editor's Note Bookstore Manager Stacy Jackson declined an interview. The Barnes & Noble corporate office did not return phone calls.