Bookstore to be outsourced this fall

Bookstore to be outsourced this fall

Asha Njeri

Brandon Ellis (left) pays Nicholas Napora (right) for his energy drink and cheese calzone from the convenience store.

Eden Cohen, Managing Editor

Students and faculty may have to buy books from a new company in future semesters.

Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar told faculty senate members last Wednesday that administrators have judged the current campus bookstore’s operation unsustainable.

Finance and Administration Vice President Amy Buxbaum said she is seeking outside contactors to operate the university’s bookstore.

She said the final vendor decision will take several months and involve vendor interviews.

Buxbaum said she wants student participation in vendor interviews, and has invited Student Government Association President Shelby Smith to attend.

Smith said that she was invited to the interviews to represent students.

“They (administrators) wanted me there to make sure I could look out for the students’ best interests,” she said.

The details on how the interviews will be conducted are still not completely determined, Smith said.

She is not sure who else will be participating, or whether there will be more students, she said.

Buxbaum said they are seeking a different vendor to get more value.

Larger companies that cooperate with multiple universities, she said, can provide students with more products.

She mentioned having a larger selection of new and used books, books available for rent and electronic books.

Larger companies can also handle more online sales for books and Pitt-Johnstown apparel.

A large online store could expand the bookstore’s market past students and to alumni, she said.

Dance Ensemble president Amanda Mudgett said her club could have trouble ordering clothing if the new bookstore had a different apparel selection.

Mudgett said she and her fellow dancers order clothes through the bookstore during the fall.

Currently, she said, bookstore employees provide her with a few pages-worth of clothing and printing options, and the club orders as a group.

Other vendors they have looked into have not been so easy, she said.

Other vendors require clothing be ordered individually, she said, and it costs more.

Clothing printed externally from the bookstore also isn’t allowed to have Pitt-Johnstown logos, she said.

“No members will be able to order clothing unless we find another vendor, which we have not had any luck with because we don’t have the options the bookstore can offer us,” she said.

It is unclear how extensive the new bookstore’s apparel selection is to be, or whether a convenience store aspect will be kept.

It is also unclear what is to become of the bookstore’s current employees, some with extensive service to Pitt-Johnstown according to the University Times’s Dec. 4, 2014 issue, five bookstore staff have been working for the university for a combined 102 years.