The Compass Wednesday, October 26, 1994 9
Students and faculty stnjggle with
Campus-wide textbool shortages
By Scott Lawrence and
"One day two students just walked out
of my class and never came back," said
newly arrived English instructor Ben
The students, said Davis, left class be
cause they were tired of waiting for books
to come in.
Davis joined ECSU's faculty this se
mester to become one of many frustrated
the campus have had to share books with
classmates, buy or borrow books on their
own, decipher fair to illegible photo cop
ies, rely on lectures, or drop courses this
semester in the wake of absent textbooks.
Students and instructors say the lack of
books adds tension and gives students
who don't have books a poor attitude.
"By the time my American Literature
book came I was lost, so I dropped the
course," said junior Gloria Alexander.
"It's frustrating," said Davis. "I was
pleading with students to be patient."
When instructors finally confirm that
their students have books they often pick
up the pace, which students say over
whelms them with a tidal wave of read
ing, researching and writing.
In theory, the procedure for ordering
books is simple: each department is sup
posed to check their enrollment sheets
from last semester to track students and
deduce from that how many books they
will need. After researching the orders
for availability and cost, Folust approves
it, then fowards it to the bookstore.
Once the order is fed into the computer
at the bookstore the publishing company
automatically receives it. The books
should then be sent and the University
billed. Problems result, however, when
departmental chairs take too much time
deciding which edition of a book to order,
said Foust. Another problem, said Foust
is students who register late.
"I have to wait and do the math to see
how many books are needed," he said.
"There's always people coming in."
"The bookstore receives many incor
rect book identification numbers, which
we need to look up and correct," said
Cooper. "That slows us down as well."
While the majority of students received
most of their books in a timely manner,
the problem of book shortages has been
campus wide. "I had five or six students
who went without books for at least a
month," said Deborah Fontaine, an in
structor in the Business and Economics
department. Students taking zoology
classes also went without books, accord
ing to Dr. Gary Hannon of the Biology
Department. And in the Department of
Language, Literature & Communication,
students taking classes in World Litera
ture, Composition and Literature II, and
Shakespeare, were among those missing
books for up to a month. Students ex
press anger and frustration with the text
book shortage. "How does the instructor
expect me to take a test when I don't even
havea textbook?" said Alexander. "We're
"It's aggrivating to walk into a class
room knowing that the instructor is go
ing to have an attitude because you dont
have a book," said ECSU senior Ron
Ambrose. "Or that the instructor is going
to be upset that I'm late when I check the
bookstore on my way to class to see if my
book is in yet." Under a new policy each
departmental chairperson will meet with
Cooper to ensure the accuracy of orders.
The policy will be implemented next se
mester. ECSU officials say they plan to
address the problem of bwk shortages.
In a recent memo Foust has called for all
book orders to be in by the middle of
November. "Any student missing one
book is a problem," said Yvonne Wag
oner, Directorof PublicRelations, "ECSU
has set up a committee to look into the
Registration blues: Student tempers
grow hot abng with the summer sun
Art by Amtwuo J. IgUsia
By Scott Lawrence and
ECSU students attempting to register
for their classes this semester faced heat,
long lines and a trial of their patience.
Many students, like Kisha Darden and
Cephas Thornton, were imhappy.
"It took me two days to get my books,"
said Darden, a freshman. "I was so mad.
I had to wait in line all day. I got there at
nine o"dock and the lir>e was already
wrapped around the building."
Cephas Thornton complained at hav
ing "to wait three hours in a hot hallway
Thornton and Darden were among
many students to spend hours waiting in
a line that stretched outside the R-V.
Vaughan Center where registration took
The Vaugjian Center wasn't the only
place on campus students where had to
wait in a lengthy line. At the campus
bookstore students baked in the swelter
ing August heat for hours wonderir^
what was wrong.
Inside, piles of books littered the floor
waiting fbr students who, f^ up with
waiting, had walked away from ^e line
after handing their schedules to book
store employees. Employees would then
gather their books and write up receipts.
Those students who remain^ had to
waitevenlongerwhile the books of those
who had walked away were gathered.
"Iwasupset," said Latysha Edwards, a
junior. "I had to wait in line an hour to get
my books and then they only had two of
the oi«s I needed."
The temperature and humidity made
"It was hot," said Tommy Foust, Uni
versity registrar and chairman of the text
committee. "I went to the cafeteria and
had them send out some cookies and
Cookies and juice weren't enough to
keep some students from suffering from
mild heat exhaustioiv however.
ECSU's nurse supervisor Jean Roberts
said she was called out five or six times
for people who had fainted. No one had
to be hospitalized or Iwought back to the
Why were the lines so long?
The problems stemmed from a new
computer system^tudent Information
Systems Plus, which was rwt ready to run
when registration began.
"Most of the problems came in when
we had to transfer the information from
the old system to the new," said Foust,
"and in making new student identifica
The new system didn't have a com
puter program for the campus bookstore
according to Willie Taylor, the academic
computing center's director of telecom
munications and information systems.
"So we had to write one," Taylor said,
"and we weren't finished in time."
Technical assistants from the the prob
lem, Foust said. But neither they, nor
University personnel, were able to get the
system working in time to ease the stu
The newidentification cards will q?eed
up most of the processes around campus
which have held students up in the past,
Foust said. The cards' magnetic strip will
eillow students to check out library books
quickly by gliding the card through a
Student Information Systems Plus will
also allowstudentsquick entry into sport
ing events, said Foust The new system
will also eventuaDy allow students to
partidp)ate in "touchtone registration,"
or registration by phone, said Foust.
Students can help minimize the prob
lems with registration by showing up
with the appropriate j?aper-work, and
not waiting until the last minute to woric
on their financial aid packages, Foust