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Piracy on campus: a real concern?

Aaaarrrrgggghhhh! Avast Ye to the Feb. 15 email! Batten down the hatches because the buccaneers are being accused of hornswoggle, and there is a hefty bounty for yer head, matey!

On Feb. 15, Dean of Students Rosealyn Eaton sent an email titled, “Notice regarding copyright infringement.” This email talked about the serious penalties of downloading illegal copies of articles, books, movies, and music. It had a “we’re on to you” tone, stating, “We are much more interested in educating students about the legal responsibilities, and providing clear and accurate resources to reduce the incidence of illegal downloading at St. Olaf. We are not naïve either, and we are aware that this is a pervasive practice that many do not seem to feel is a big concern.”

Yet, if they are so interested in “providing clear and accurate resources to reduce the incidence of illegal downloading at St. Olaf,” why not address the root cause?  You know who the real criminals are? 

The bookstore – with its lack of affordability even for used and binder books. The library –  with its limited selection and availability of course materials to lend. And the incredibly inconsiderate professors – who either assign books last minute or change books halfway through the semester. Some even choose the most expensive editions, then never entirely cover the book.

We, the students, are paying to learn, whether that be out of pocket, through loans and work awards, or scholarships. So tell me why the apparent “key” to our knowledge is being gatekept by the institution in charge of supplying said knowledge?

That email was not for us. That email was for the staff, the professors, the higher-ups. It should serve as an indicator of what they are doing wrong, not the demonization of students who are just trying to get an education.

There should be no added cost or burden to our promised acquisition of knowledge. The job of the institution should be to first and foremost serve the students, not the pockets of these billion dollar industries. And if you disagree, you can walk the plank!

Leila Rocha Fisher

Her majors are environmental studies and history


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