Campus Policy Hinders Student’s Efforts to Promote Online BookstoreJOHNSTOWN, Pa. — A student at the University of Pittsburgh’s Johnstown campus says school officials reversed a decision to allow her to distribute brochures about a discount online bookstore, saying it would hurt sales at the campus shop. Lee Ann Diffendal, a freshman communications major, says her $9-per-hour job with varsitybooks.com is in jeopardy as a result, and so are the jobs of three other students she recruited to distribute brochures about the online seller. “They have told me I cannot solicit varsitybooks.com on any part of the campus,” Diffendal says. “I can still work off campus, but they’ve made it so much harder, nearly impossible.”University spokeswoman Helen Golubic said only private business that does not conflict with the university’s own operation can be represented on campus. Diffendal says she hopes to change that policy, but her chances appear slim. Diffendal says she signed on with the company after a friend who distributes the online seller’s brochures at Duquesne University recommended it. She says her job is to distribute brochures about the company and its wares. But if asked, she will help students order books online. Jodi Gershoni, communications director with varsitybooks.com, says the company advertises that it sells college textbooks at discounts of up to 40 percent off of distributors’ prices. “We are marketing on hundreds of campuses and sometimes a campus bookstore feels threatened and will try to stop the student,” Gershoni told the Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown. “There’s a team working in our office to make sure her legal rights are not being harmed, that she is allowed to do her job for the company.”Diffendal says she got a permit from the university to distribute brochures from a table in the lobby of the student union. University officials asked her if she would be selling anything, and she replied that she would only pass out literature. On the day she set up shop, she found the manager of the campus bookstore, Tom Dupnock, reading one of the brochures at his desk. She says he told her he would take the issue to the highest authority to prevent her from promoting the online seller on campus.
Computer Policies at Louisiana-Monroe Rely Heavily on Trust
MONROE, La. — Trust is a major part of the computer policies at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. Faculty members and students who break that trust can be punished. But officials won’t make any predictions about what might happen to a student arrested on child pornography charges and an instructor who has resigned but has not been arrested. “In our system, people are innocent until proven guilty. I don’t want to make any assumptions,” says Arlen Zander, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the university. Former psychology instructor Ronnie Santana is being investigated and student Larry Culpepper, 24, was arrested last month. Culpepper is accused of sending child porn over the Internet. But investigators do not yet know whether any university computers were used. Monroe police seized computers from Santana’s university office, his home, and Culpepper’s apartment. The investigation started when the sheriff’s department in Monongalia County, W.Va., told Monroe police that someone in Morgantown, W.Va., had received child pornography from someone in the Monroe area. William Lee Kittle, 25, a Fairmont, W.Va., resident then living in Morgantown, W.Va., and still enrolled as a student at the University of West Virginia, was arrested Oct. 4 on a pornography charge. On Jan. 7, a Monongalia County grand jury indicted him on two counts of child pornography. A senior chemistry major, Kittle is scheduled for trial March 29. At Louisiana-Monroe, anyone using a university-linked computer must sign an affidavit agreeing to use the equipment and facilities for official school duties and studies of the university, Zander said. After they sign that affidavit, they are assigned a user number and can log on. “We trust the professional judgment of the people who sign these affidavits,” Zander said. “If there are violations, we address those issues then as we are doing now.”People do not need to sign anything to use the public terminals in the university library because there are library monitors to check on their use, Zander says. Santana submitted a letter of resignation last month. Unless and until he is convicted, Culpepper may attend classes. The university can check just what is on every campus computer, but will not do so until officials identify exactly what was found on Santana’s, Zander says. He adds that officials have talked about possible ways to keep illegal files off campus computers, but he does not know what has been or will be done.
Report Calls for `E-Learning’ as College Boom Gets Underway
OLYMPIA,Wash. — Washington’s public colleges need to prepare for an influx of 50,000 new students by the end of the decade, and will need to rely on electronic learning and other advances as an adjunct to simply throwing up more college buildings, a state panel says. The Higher Education Coordinating Board, a nine-member citizen panel that oversees and advocates for Washington’s colleges, last month released its 2000 Master Plan, outlining goals and strategies for the next decade. If the Legislature adopts the plan, it becomes the state’s official policy on higher education. The plan is rewritten every four years. The report says Washington colleges can expect at least 70,000 more full-time students between now and 2010, or the equivalent of two new Universities of Washington. Population growth alone accounts for about 70 percent of the influx. Some of the new students will enroll at private colleges, leaving about 52,000 for the state system to serve, the report says. The board suggested adding about 5,800 new enrollment slots each year. Over time, that would require increasing higher education’s share of the state budget by about 1.5 percent of the total, the report says. The report does not presume construction of brand new colleges or branch campuses, but assumes lawmakers will continue building new facilities on existing campuses and adopt other strategies to meet the demand, says Linda Schactler, deputy director of the board. “Colleges and universities will need to operate smarter and better, by exploring new electronic learning technologies, forging new partnerships and reaching out to people who traditionally have not been able to go to college,” the report says. Students will be expected to show up prepared to do the work and to pay their fair share of costs, and colleges should award diplomas based on demonstrated achievement, rather than letting students earn credits by simply occupying classroom seats, the report says. The board chairman, Costco executive Bob Craves, says colleges must “clear up bottlenecks in admissions and high-demand courses” and must do a better job of using technology. “Our colleges and universities have to squeeze every ounce of learning they can out of the public funds used to pay for it,” Craves says. — Compiled from staff and wire reports.
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