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Opinion

Textbook services rule as dictatorship over students

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September 25, 2008

I cannot help but indulge in the overwhelming possibility that our textbook operations could be more corrupt than the old mafia.

That is, of course, if the mob is not already managing the operations within our textbook library to some degree.

My story is one of bias and truth.

Last spring semester I turned in my books without any fines or problems. Three months later, I received a notice that one of my books was covered with “a red substance.”

Not knowing what was going on, or how a red substance made its way into a book I never opened or even knew I had until the end of the spring semester, the situation was beyond me. However, the folks down at the textbook services maintained that since I was the last to use the book I was guilty of the crime at hand.

The first thing I thought of was my desire for a fair trial where both sides of the story could be heard. In reality though, textbook services is the judge and jury: God of all book penalties— rivaling communism at the height of its reign!

Being the intuitive or obnoxious person I am, I asked why they did not notice this red goo when I turned the book in. They quickly got defensive and explained they would have.

My first response was “you’re an idiot,” my second response was “you’re an idiot.” Let’s just clarify this—they would have caught it but since they didn’t, I am fined.

That is not a misprint, readers.

Clearly I had not deceived the allknowing textbook services, but I knew protesting was as pointless as expecting to turn in books without getting a fine. So I paid my unjust trial with the money I had hoped would go toward rent, food and a bowling league this fall.

The story continues. I went back into the shrilly basement this fall and felt similar to O.J., except I was innocent. All the workers stared me down like hawks. I am certain they were instructed to make sure I did not spray red goo on other books, since I was that kind of guy.

All went smoothly and I received my books no questions asked. However, I was forced to drop a class and turned the books in a week later.

My naive nature led me to believe I was in the clear. No. I needed to turn them in four days after the class was dropped. Their reasoning was that others potentially needed my books. I noticed, however, that there were at least 10 to 15 books identical to mine sitting harmlessly on the shelf.

I did not argue, I simply realized that a book checked out is an inevitable fine. So freshmen beware, it is a battlefield down there and their bullets are fines. Our bullets are futile words that we think can help our situation. So, keep your ear to the grindstone UW-River Falls.

Eric Bertram is an English education major with a coaching minor and aspiring hand model. He loves the Golden Gophers, basketball and his girlfriend, Rebecca.