North Texas Daily

UNT finally listens to student concerns

UNT finally listens to student concerns

October 22
23:17 2012

Recently, UNT Libraries announced that they would begin charging a fee for students using the Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad) service if the cost of getting an item was more than $15. ILLiad is a necessity for graduate students and professors to engage in research, because UNT’s library system – great as it is – doesn’t have everything we need.

More than 99 percent of users of this service are graduate students or professors.  In total, graduate students and professors make up 24 percent of the academic population of UNT. Their primary purposes are research and teaching.

In fact, doing that research makes them better students and teachers because it gives them access to more information that they can pass on later. The policy was forcing people to pay twice for doing what is part of the job description.

However, through the efforts of a small group of students led by history doctoral students Kristan Ewin and Deborah Kilgore, with important help from history professor Andrew Torget, the library has reversed its policy.

Dean of Libraries Martin Halbert sent an email to Ewin reading, “So, effective immediately, I have decided to rescind this cost-cutting decision and go back to our previous inter-library loan policy.”  This is a triumph for research at UNT.

More generally, it demonstrates that small groups working together can cause change at a university with a history of ignoring student needs and interests. Halbert has bucked the university’s normal practices of half-truths and opaque processes.

He actually engaged with concerned students publicly. This is a good thing, and other administrators should follow his lead.  I would like to thank Halbert for his swift response to student concerns. All told, the process of organizing the little group and getting the fees removed took about a month.

Halbert is an advocate of research and oversees grants to that end.  After all, that is one of the main purposes of places like UNT. The rest of the administration would do well to remember that, too.  However, the decision was made Oct. 10.

As of Oct. 17, the fee is still on the website.  Reverting to an archived version and propagating it online shouldn’t take more than 24 hours. We appreciate the reversion, but question the delay.

So, the question must be asked: What other abuses can we, as students, force an end to here at UNT?

J. Holder Bennett is a history Ph.D student. He can be reached at jasonbennett2@my.unt.edu.

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