It’s a popular ideal that education should be genuinely accessible to all. Around campus, this pursuit is most tangibly manifested in the Drop Fees campaign. Its thesis, that tuition should cost less, has been understandably popular among students. Though tuition is already heavily subsidized, it remains an intimidating, even exclusionary cost.
A more prudent strategy, practically and financially, would be to minimize disparity through a more local, incremental approach.
A principal financial burden on students is the acquisition of required texts. Most manage to budget for this; having a textbook or coursepack is, if not obligatory, then advantageous. For those who cannot afford the considerable convenience and accessibility of ownership, some such books are made available in the library reserve.
However, the majority of textbooks and coursepacks are not available. Course texts are only put on reserve at the request of faculty and must then be approved by the subject librarian. The cost of these may come out of either the departmental or library budget if not complementary from the publisher.
Regarding cost and legality, textbooks and coursepacks must be separately considered. Professors are typically given a few complementary copies of a textbook, especially if these are requested, and one may be given to the library. Coursepacks must be legitimately obtained through the bookstore, which clears copyright, but can then be put on reserve. For each, no more than one text per 25 students, to a maximum of five, is permissible.
I propose a mandatory rule that at least one of each textbook or coursepack be made available on reserve by the professor or department. It’s an accessibility both reasonable and achievable.
This week’s editorial is a guest column courtesy of a Ryerson student. Our editorial section is always open to submissions for editorials about relevant campus issues. Please send any submissions by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.