Senate splits vote; ASLCC considers free textbook rentals

At the May 20 meeting, student government members debated adopting a program to make textbooks free for some classes. The lion’s share of time was devoted to consideration of an Open Educational Resources Committee request for $3,600 to purchase textbooks for kick-starting a rental program.
Treasurer James Wessgert gave policy and financial analysis handouts for the proposed program to the senate. Wessgert said that the service would allow students to check out textbooks through the Lane library free of charge.
Senator Robert Kirkpatrick questioned whether the service fell under the definition of open educational resources and a discussion on the meaning of “open” followed. Vice-president Ashley Jackson pointed out that the original meaning in this context implied materials not covered by copyright that did not support a textbook industry that exploits students.
Wessgert responded that this program would reduce the overall amount of money spent on textbooks, reiterating that the objective was to reduce students’ costs. His analysis projected an estimated $20,000 in savings to students.
Other concerns centered around policies regarding non-returned books, the potential of conflicts with the Titan Store and teachers changing to different textbooks, which would render a book inventory obsolete.
The motion to approve the funding failed on a 2-3-0 vote. The four senators present split 2-2 and vice-president Ashley Jackson cast the final no vote.
In other business, Blake McCoy, president of the Lane Aviators Association, requested ASLCC sign-off for $250 to fund a student field trip to an aviation museum. The Council of Clubs has already approved the request and would provide the funds. After a short discussion, the senate gave its approval 4-0-0.
Oregon Student Alliance Campus Organizer Eli Emigh presented an initial funds request for $875 to pay for student executive management training for up to 25 students. The subject was tabled for a second reading next week.
Campus Community Director Mariana Paredones, reporting on cultural competency, said the committee was working on a suggestion to incorporate cultural training into the orientation for incoming student government members.
Senator Charles Stewart asked her what the Cultural Competency Committee was doing to address reports of racial discrimination by Public Safety officers. Paredones replied that the committee was primarily concerned with college policy. Discrimination complaints could not be addressed due to busy student schedules and inadequate staffing.
When items for next week’s agenda were solicited, Stewart again asked for a committee to address discrimination on campus.
Christian Mello, gender and sexuality diversity advocate, reported that he and Multicultural Programs Coordinator Manuel Mejia gave a successful workshop at the recent Oregon Student Equal Rights Alliance symposium. The subject was ‘intersectionality,’ which he loosely defined as the intersection of common interests among groups with diverse concerns and agendas.
In their reports, several senators and staff indicated that they are currently working on the transition to next year’s student government.