{Your Perspective}

USUAA student government

Widespread voter apathy will once again be reflected by the results of the student government elections. It is always heart-warming to watch members of USUAA go through the motions of being an effective instrument of change. The student body of UAA knows the truth. USUAA is like any puppet regime. Their power is not derived from the consent of the governed, but rather from the fees they leech out of my tuition each year. Last time I voted, at least I got a movie ticket two weeks after the election. This year, I got a sticker. Not even a pretty sticker at that.

And what did I get to vote about? Whether I should have to pay more money in student fees. Never mind voter apathy, how about the lack of candidates to run for the open positions. The concept of a Union of Students is a good one and offers many benefits to the student body. However, USUAA in its present form offers little in return to those it supposedly represents. The student fees I pay to KRUA and The Northern Light give me a decent return for my money, providing me with quality content that enriches my life throughout the year. Why can't the $6 I spend on USUAA do the same?

-Jared Chandler, History major

Bookstore needs to follow its own policy

I was inspired to write when I went to the UAA Bookstore to sell back the previous semester texts. My experience there pushed me to write this little note urging an explanation or interpretation of the following UAA Bookstore written policy:

“When an instructor informs the UAA Bookstore that a particular book will be used for a course in the coming semester, the Bookstore will pay 50 percent of the original sale price regardless of whether you bought the book new or used.”

This written policy has been contradicted by the UAA Bookstore's performance, unless I don't understand the English meaning.

I bought a new fundamental microbiology book for about $108, which was supposed to be bought back for $54; however, the buyback price was $15. The lab book, brand new, was about $50 and was bought back for $5. Finally, the set for Western Civilization II was $62.50 and should have been bought back for $31; it was bought back for $5.

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The $15 to $20 bucks that I would have gotten from selling these books would have made a little difference in my life, such as going to see the movie Castaway. So I kept the books and gave them to other students, helping in making their lives different by saving them a hundred bucks.

I'm sure there are the same incidents happening to other students.

I noticed that there were no used microbiology texts on the shelf when I went to buy spring semester books, even though 40-some students bought the books from the fall semester. I did not think that students' enthusiasm for Dr. Duddleson (microbiology professor) alone kept them from selling back their books. More likely, the buyback prices weren't high enough.

The Bookstore claims that there is a buyback wholesaler who also buys back books, and the Bookstore doesn't get that money. What happened to the 50 percent buy-back book tradition or the strong commitment of the Bookstore for the best of students? Has it been broken by greed or was there never such a commitment in the first place? Please explain.

-Kanokwan Smith, UAA student

Editor's note: Some NL staff members suggest that students go to the classroom where students might be needing the used book and cannot afford to buy it new and sell it there.


Diversity classes should be required

I am writing you in hopes of getting a few questions answered about this university's curriculum. I have been told numerous times by administrators that the reason that students are required to take so many classes is because it gives us a well-rounded education. Well, I'm not so sure that that is true. Just how well rounded could my education be when there are vital courses missing?

In the CAS requirements, we are required to take a variety of classes ranging from literature to history. However, in my opinion, these classes are one-sided. Take history for instance: There are a lot of history classes offered, however, (to my knowledge) only U.S. History and Western Civilization are required. Why is that? Especially when U.S. History focuses on what one race has done for this country and excludes the contributions of others. This country is great because of the contributions of all races. We need to be taught the whole truth about who we are as a people and not just the candy-coated version that we receive.

There is also the fact that we live in Alaska, yet we aren't required to know anything about the state or its people. Why is that?

To have a well-rounded education, we should be required to take classes that encompass all races. It is only through interaction and studying that we can truly become more tolerant of each other and our differences.

Therefore, I propose that classes in Black History, Native Studies, other racial history and Alaska be incorporated into the curriculum as requirements.

I realize that you can't make every class a requirement (who would ever graduate?) and I am not suggesting that. What I am suggesting is that when you say we are receiving a well-rounded education, we actually are. British literature can be interesting, however do I have a real need to know it? I don't think so. What I need to know is what has happened in this country and the world. Are these events a reflection of what we have become and, if so, what can we do to change things?

I am not knocking the university as a whole, so don't get me wrong. I enjoy going to school here and I think that, for the most part, I am getting a good education. The fact that you offer these alternative classes on campus at all is nice, but they aren't considered important enough to be considered requirements. What does that say?

-LaVette Berrian, UAA student