Miscommunication between the university bookstore and professors has caused many students to begin classes without the proper textbooks.
Much of the blame is being placed on students, but university staff members may be at fault.
“Teachers are putting the orders in too late,” said Tran Henry, a supervisor at the FAMU Bookstore.
Henry said the bookstore sent their requests to the book publishers at the beginning of October 2006, expecting to have books in the store by Oct. 23,2006 for the spring semester. However, many professors’ book request forms were not turned in until Dec. 2006.
Once the bookstore places a request to the publishers it normally takes three to seven business days to get the books in. Sometimes, even when book request forms are handed in before deadline, certain books are placed on back order because of a shortage in stock.
“Publishers put orders on back order and forget about them,” said Henry, “They don’t call us to let us know the book is actually out of stock.”
Several professors look to the bookstore to speed up their book request, but the bookstore is unable to make exceptions because of the high volume in request and book prices.Some students are being pressed by their instructors to purchase the required textbooks for this semester, but many of the books have not yet been ordered.
“I was unable to do my homework, and I am upset because the staff of the bookstore is not accurate with the information on when the shipment will arrive,” said Khepera Walker, 20, a sophomore business administration student from Chicago. “I partially blame the teachers because they are responsible for ordering the books.
“I don’t think that students should be held responsible if the books are not in the bookstore,”
Walker continued. “It isn’t fair for teachers to expect us to get work done based on problems out of ourcontrol.”
Like other students, graduate engineering student Collins Adetu, 22 from Nigeria, is unhappy he has to explain to his professors why he has no books for their classes.
“I was disappointed,” he said. “I needed the book immediately, and it wasn’t available, so I had to come up with another alternative to get the book.”
Adetu said the bookstore tells him that often times the suppliers do not have the book, but he believes he is getting the runaround.
“Whenever I go to Florida State they always have a copy in store. So why doesn’t FAMU have any in store?” he asked.Adetu acknowledges students should be resourceful and obtain the materials they need, but said there are some instances when they should not be held responsible.
“I know that because there are other alternatives students should use all of their resources, but some people can only get their books from FAMU because of their financial aid book vouchers,” Adetu said. “But others I guess need to find sources to get the book.”
There are teachers who do not put all of the blame on the bookstore.
“I don’t have any complaints with the bookstore, but some times my students complain about the books being sold out,” said Lindsey Sarjeant, department of music professor and director of jazz ensembles at FAMU. “But the bookstore is accommodating,”
Sarjeant said teachers are a part of the misunderstanding and thinks some of the problems could be solved if they got their orders in on time.
“In most circumstances it is not the students fault, with the exception of some,” Sarjeant said. “I allow my students time to get their books, and I try to be accommodating to get the assignments done by allowing them to turn in assignments after they receive their books.”