DON'T MYTH DHT
T'S AS CERTAIN AS DEATH AND TAXES - SHELLING OUT BIG BUCKS FOR
textbooks. Traditionally, students have cut their losses in part by
reselling their books at the end of the semester. Bookstores, wholesalers
and used-book clearinghouses are the most frequent buyers, but they rarely
pay even 50 percent of the retail price.
"It's at the buyback where they screw you," says U. of Alabama senior
Stacy Cohen. "When they buy it back, it's like, 'Here's your $3. Hope you
learned what you had to learn."'
To make matters worse, bookstores often refuse to buy back certain texts
after professors opt to change the edition used in their courses.
Fortunately for students, there are alternatives to the traditional
Cohen and some friends are planning to open an alternative bookstore
on the Alabama campus. She says
her group hopes to pay students
M I I fill 1 half of the original purchase price
"We're trying to put together a
jazz hall with an art gallery and an alternative bookstore upstairs," Cohen
says. "There's not really a bookstore here that sells new and used classics and
has the texts right there, too."
MaryPIRG, the campus public interest group at the U. of Maryland,
holds a book swap at which students can trade their old texts for credit
toward new ones.
But even the alternatives pose problems. "Sometimes you'Wait for the
book swap, and then they don't have what you need," says Maryland senior
Matt Ramsdell. "So you end up going to the bookstore anyway."
Another alternative, offered at Eastern Illinois U., is a school-run
textbook-rental system. A fee of about $5 per credit hour is added to stu-
dents' bills when they register for classes. Although some courses require
more books than others, university officials say the fees even out over
"We've really gotten positive feedback," says Donna Dawson, text-
book-rental clerk at EIU, "especially from transfer students who come
here and are amazed that they don't have to spend hundreds of dollars
The U. of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, and the U. of Wisconsin, Stout, spon-
sor similar textbook-leasing programs, and at the U. of Minnesota, Duluth,
student-run organizations buy used texts for charity.
Just remember - if you look hard enough, you'll be able to hit your
books harder than they hit your wallet.
Dan Avery, U. of Maryland, College Park/Photo byAaron Lathem, U. of Arizona
YOU GET AN AUTOMA TIC 4.0
ifyour roommate dies. Stu-
dents nationwide have
passed this tale around for years.
The fact that it isn't true hasn't
stopped them. But hey, isn't that
the nature of a myth?
Hit or myth?
Now, see if you can tell fact from fiction.
True or false:
*The U. of Maryland, College Park, awarded a doctorate - in health and
human performance - toa dead woman.
(True, in1994, to Rafaela Coello, who was 84 when she died.)
" Famed U. of Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne really told his players,
"Win one for the Gipper."
(False. His actual words were: "The day before he died, [Notre Dame football
player] George Gipp asked me to wait until the situation seemed hopeless -
then aska Notre Dame team to go out and beat Army for him. This is the day,.
and you are the team.")
* About the only thing that can get you out of class is a natural disaster.
(True. Washington State U. canceled classes for four days in 1980 when
Mount Saint Helens erupted; classes at the U. of Miami were canceled for a
month in 1926 because of a hurricane; Hanover College lost 32 of its 33 build-
ings and a week of classes in 1974 when a tornado swept through Indiana.)
Call it studentlore - the fiction
or stranger-than-fiction that bonds
students at a particular college.
Here's some of the most enduring:
Harvard U. keeps afloat the
rumor of required swimming
lessons. It's true that on April 16,
1912, the Titanic sank and that
Eleanor Wiedner's son, a Harvard
student, drowned. It's also true
that in her son's memory, Wied-
ner donated money to Harvard
for a library (now known as
But contrary to what Harvard
students have believed since then,
it isn't true that Wiedner attached
a stipulation requiring all students
to pass a swim test. Lessons are
merely encouraged for students
who want to participate in water
sports, says a source in the Harvard
At Duke U. in North Carolina,
a 3-foot stone wall surrounds the
former women's campus (from
when the men's and women's cam-
puses were separate). According to
the myth, endowment benefactor
James B. Duke stipulated in his will
that a 10-foot wall separate the men
from the women. But the rebel
builders got around that require-
ment - by putting 7 feet below
The truth: What you see is what
you get. "It's just ornamental," says
David Roberson of Duke's public
Students at Brown U. are still
awaiting the emergence of professor
Josiah S. Carberry. Evidence of Car-
berry, a fictitious character believed
to have been created by a Brown
professor, first surfaced in 1929. A
notice was posted advertising Car-
berry's lecture on psychoceramics -
the study of cracked pots - to be
held in University Hall.
Every Friday the 13th since,
fliers have appeared around campus
touting the mystery lecture. A room
is always reserved - but no one
shows up for Carberry's speech.
That's part of the tradition, too.
At Yale U. and the U. of Florida,
truth has become legendary.
The Vietnam Veterans Memori-
al in Washington, D.C. - perhaps
the nation's most revered war mon-
ument - is a product of Maya Ying
Lin, who was a senior at Yale when
her contest entry for the memorial
design won in 1981. Lin first
designed the memorial as a class
project. Her professor, Andy Burr,
also submitted a blueprint, but Lin
won the contest and the $20,000
prize. Burr gave her a "B."
Because the tropical heat often
dehydrated the U. of Florida football
players, Robert Cade, a professor of
medicine and kidney research at the
university, chose the pigskin han-
dlers as guinea pigs for his
new drink. Now known as Gatorade
- sorry, not GatorCade - the
drink was a hit with the football
players. It was named for their mas-
cot, the Gator, and the university
receives a portion of Gatorade
Kathleen Seller, Syracuse U./Photo by
John Foraste, Brown U.
Sheeeshl Getting caught in the bookstore trap
could cost you an arm and a leg.
18 U. Magazine " August/September 1995