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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mail Bag

    Textbook publishers not responsible for buyback fiasco

    Your recent article on textbook buyback (Dec. 5’s “”Textbook buybacks are hit or miss””) failed to provide an accurate picture of publishers’ role in the used-textbook market and the range of textbook options available to faculty and students.

    Publishers are sympathetic to students’ concerns about the cost of textbooks. That’s why they offer for sale in the United States a range of course material from which faculty can choose, including low-frills textbooks, black-and-white editions, e-books, custom books and books by the chapters.

    For example, in introductory psychology alone there are currently 216 titles on sale in college bookstores around the country at retail prices ranging from $23.44 to $120.54. As for used books, while they can offer students savings, bookstores generally mark up used books more than new books with neither authors nor publishers receiving any compensation from the resale.

    In fact, publishers have no role in the used-book market. As for new textbooks, publishers’ income after taxes, printing, binding, paper and other expenses is between 5 and 7 percent.

    Stacy Scarazzo
    assistant director Higher Education Association of American Publishers

    Proposed red-tag policy is ‘double jeopardy’

    How can school officials punish us for something unrelated to school (Dec. 5’s “”Admins may issue penalties for red tags””)? This is like double jeopardy – being punished twice for the same crime. This entire idea is absolutely ridiculous and is merely the school’s way of collecting a few extra bucks. What’s next, a defensive-driving class in the Harvill building for my next speeding ticket?

    Dan Parmelee
    business administration senior

    ‘Absurd’ affirmative action should be abolished

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading Damion LeeNatali’s Dec. 1 column (“”The Asian Invasion: Coming to a college near you?””), and I agree wholeheartedly that it is absurd that universities take less-qualified Caucasians as applicants in place of Asian-Americans.

    However, I was sorely disappointed with the conclusion. I was hoping that he would attack the self-defeating concept of affirmative action. Ethnicity cannot tell you the background and history of any individual. It would be far more accurate to judge college applicants based on their GPAs, SAT scores and extracurricular activities, without losing sight of how their parents’ income may have influenced these things.

    When a university intentionally enforces “”diversity,”” it is in effect having less-qualified students enter college to have its demographics perfectly match some chart. It should come as no surprise to any rational mind that particular ethnicities often perform worse in college. Affirmative action is finally, and quite ironically, beginning to hurt our brightest students.

    Preston Tilus
    computer science sophomore

    No easy answer to generic drug problem

    In response to Shurid Sen’s Dec. 6 column (“”Cut the bull, cut the red tape””), the question that no one wishes to address is very basic: Who pays for the development of anti-AIDS drugs?ÿ

    Developing a new drug appears to cost billions of dollars, so this is a critical issue. Those who advocate appropriating drug formulas, expensively developed by commercial firms for production as “”generic,”” are making the false argument that producers such as India can produce these drugs far more inexpensively.ÿ

    Well, of course they can. Their cost only includes the cost of production, not the cost of years of expensive research, development, testing and trials.ÿThe cost of production by generic producers is no less than that of the cost by the original developers; the difference is that one paid billions of dollars over years of development, and the other got the formula for free.

    Obviously, if major pharmaceutical firms find the fruits of major investments appropriated (i.e. stolen) for production by competitors, they are going to cease such research and focus on less controversial issues, such as more erectile-dysfunction drugs, perhaps.ÿI’m not arguing the case for “”corporate greed,”” just pointing out that publicly-held-stock companies are not public-service organizations, and it is inappropriate and foolish to expect them to act that way.ÿ

    If people feel that very expensive drugs should be developed and made available to suffering people (which I myself agree with), then a better mechanism needs to be found than expecting the private sector to continue funding development that is then taken from them by force.

    Any time the government takes something from you, it is by force or the threat of force, an event known as robbery when anyone else does it. Someone has to pay; it is about time people started dealing with that issue.ÿThat is the core question that no one wishes to deal with.

    William Haltiwanger
    UA alumnus

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