Ashland, Ore. -- It's the latest option in a series of cuts at Southern Oregon University... administration confirm, sell the Bookstore and make about a million. This part of an attempt to salvage the university's diminishing budget.
Southern Oregon University student body president Thomas Letchworth says the campus bookstore is one of the only auxiliaries that operates in the black. "My honest opinion is that it is a shame that the University is in such a terrible financial state," says Letchworth.
Due to state cuts in public university funding and declining enrollment, Letchworth says SOU is facing a 10.5 million dollar shortfall. Selling the bookstore, he says, would make some quick cash, "Not because it's a bad business. It's because it's worth roughly 1 million. It's a one time fix. It's unfortunate."
At a meeting on February 13th, two companies made an offer. The two potential buyers Fallot and Barnes and Noble.
"SOU will collect money for existing inventory," says Marc Tramonte, Director of Marketing and Communications at SOU. "To the best of my knowledge it's the high 6 figures million dollar range. It's a significant sum."
The SOU bookstore serves roughly five thousand students annually, by selling books, gifts and merchandise, and technology. Drew Koch, who served on the student portion of the committee covering this matter, says outsourcing would lead to changes, "It looks like the Apple tech area is not going to stay."
"Some of our colleagues at Eastern went through this last year and I heard their prices went up 33%, which is crazy," says Letchworth. Students involved say they were hoping to sway the University's decision.
Twelve students work at the bookstore. The store's director says part of any outsourcing agreement would likely include terms to keep current store staff... although she does not know for how long.