The Collegian
Friday, September 22, 2023

Money doesn't grow on UR trees

According to last week's police report in The Collegian, an unknown offender stole two textbooks, valued at $432, from the bookstore. After reading the report, two thoughts instantly came to mind.

First thought: $432 dollars for two books? What, were the books dipped in gold?

Second thought: I can't say I blame you, nameless perpetrator, because although you have committed a crime, many people at the university are committing one as well.

What crime you ask? It's a rookie crime, in my opinion. The crime of making assumptions about other people's financial standing.

All too many faculty, students and administrators assume that if a student is not on financial or merit-based aid, he or she is wealthy.

Core books alone cleaned out my summer savings freshman year. And for what? To be told at the end of the year that I could sell them back for a dollar each by the irritable man that sits outside of the bookstore. HELL NO.

Isn't there any alternative or financial assistance possible for students who can't afford books? According to the Richmond website, "The mission of the University of Richmond is to sustain a collaborative learning and research community that supports the personal development of its members and the creation of new knowledge." How are we supposed to create new knowledge when our books from which we study and reference are too expensive for some students to pay for?

There is also a discrepancy among the amount of money students must pay depending on their studies. A pre-med student may pay as much as $1,000 for books per semester, whereas another student may only have to pay $100 for their handful of paperbacks. Should students really be penalized for the majors and minors they choose?

I'm currently enrolled in a class in which it is not mandatory, but extremely necessary, to drive downtown to the General Assembly on a weekly basis. Not only do I have to pay for the highway toll (each way), but I also have to pay for parking and gas.

Now you're probably thinking ... why is she complaining over a few quarters in the meter and some tolls? I'm complaining because it adds up. Granted, free off-campus transportation has improved immensely since my freshman year, but I still manage to find myself under the restraints of time and scheduling that don't allow for any option other than my own vehicle and my own money.

Sure, we have on-campus jobs. But let's be real, working anywhere on campus doesn't pay much more than minimum wage. Try buying a semester's worth of books on that salary. Oh, wait ... you can't because you have to buy the books the first week of school.

And what's worse? Half of the time the books listed on the syllabus are only used by students a couple of times. I'd need three hands to count the number of classes where I've bought books that the professor only referenced now and then. Aren't those what handouts are for?

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I've even heard of students being forced to purchase books the professor has personally written. That is just too much. You're going to ask your students to purchase a book that you wrote, when you could just as easily teach them the material without one. After all, you did write it.

Then there are the student tablers, OH THE BELOVED TABLERS, who harass the charity out of you every time you walk through the Commons.

"Would you like to donate to the senior gift?"

"Would you like to support domestic violence awareness?"

"Would you like to donate to the Special Olympics?"

"Oh, I really would love to, but I'm a little low on money right now."

Inevitably, without even meaning to, by denying the tablers your money, you've given them permission to make you feel guilty for not "supporting the cause."

Here's a cause: The Liz Monahan Is Not Made of Money and Refuses to Ask Her Parents For Help Because She Is Almost Twenty-Two Years Old and Should Deal With Her Own Financial Crises Cause.

Then there is parking. Dear God, the parking. It doesn't matter if there was a blizzard, you broke both legs or your family died in a tragic rollercoaster accident. Parking Services doesn't care. They will ticket you.

I know I'm not alone when I say that I've acquired too many unfair tickets. My most recent ticketing incident occurred a week and a half ago, when we had that freak ice storm. My car was legally parked near Weinstein Hall, as it was after 5 p.m. Then the ice storm hit and I decided I was better off leaving my car there. After all, the last thing I need is to wreck my car and have to pay for the subsequent damages.

I thought I was being responsible. As soon as I saw the ticket, stuck to my windshield, completely frozen, I was enraged. I had to fork out $30 dollars for not wanting to get into a car accident. It's crappy and wrong and unfortunately, happens all the time.

We pay so much to attend this school. The least Richmond could do is waive that $6 library fee you get for keeping the giant headphones you rented checked out for more than two hours at a time.

I understand that there need to be repercussions for certain actions, such as, parking in a handicap parking spots, keeping a Media Resource Center DVD checked out for too long and punching holes in walls, but I think there are other instances where fines are completely unnecessary, and borderline sadistic.

As for you, nameless perpetrator, I hope you learn a lot from the two books you stole. It'd be a big slap in the face to those of us who are just as desperate for extortionately priced books, but lack the gumption to commit a felony.

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