Fighting for cheaper textbooks

Student Government Association President Christopher Whitaker and Chair of External Relations Angela Varner will be taking their textbooks and receipts to Austin on Wednesday in an effort to lower student’s spending on textbooks.

The two students will be assisting Democratic Representative of Houston Scott Hochburg in his presentation to the Texas House of Representatives regarding his upcoming legislation proposal to lower the cost of textbooks.

Hochburg’s legislation is proposing the idea of requiring professors to use the same textbook edition for an “x” number of years. This plan is supplementing Senator Shapiro’s filed legislation in 2006 that suggested tax-free textbooks.

Last semester Representative Hochburg asked several student governments in the Houston area to develop an example that would help push for more support of his price of legislation. SHSU’s Student Government Association was able to create the prime illustration that both explained and supported students’ current textbook dilemmas.

“SGA has a history of making efforts to help lower textbooks costs. This is just the next step,” SGA President Christopher Whitaker.” “First there was the online book swap, not exactly the success we hoped for. However, we continued placing efforts on the issue and received the 50 percent buy-back guarantee from the university bookstore.”

After months of working on the issue, SGA was finally successful in moving the matter into the hands of those who can ultimately adjust the situation.

Tomorrow Whitaker and Varner will stand in front of the House of Representatives in Austin and demonstrate what Whitaker describes as a “Flip the page Test.”

The process places a new and old edition of a general college textbook in front of the House and calls for a random page number. A comparison of the subject matter, content and examples are then examined.

“It is inevitable that they we will prove the two textbooks are exactly the same.” Whitaker stated.

Varner and Whitaker have carried out the test 50 times over and discovered “the main differences found were only in the pictures and sometimes in the examples provided.” Varner said.

Hochburg hopes that this demonstration and his commentary on the matter will convince representatives to support his upcoming proposal.

Whitaker has high hopes as well.

“These new editions of textbooks are too often unnecessary and unfair to the student population,” he said. “Let’s hope our demonstration helps the House get that picture.”

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