David Cordle, Emporia State provost, sent an email late last semester reminding faculty that they could not sell the desk copies of textbooks given to them by the publisher, as they are automatically property of the state of Kansas.
“According to the state of Kansas, that textbook actually belongs to the state of Kansas, not to me,” Cordle said. “Now, if I buy the textbook, obviously that’s a different situation. It’s mine, and I can sell it or dispose of it any way I want to.”
The one sentence policy can be found in the University Policy Manual and states that the policy covers any books or materials provided to faculty that they do not purchase.
“Last semester, when I sent out that notice, what prompted that was several faculty members had gotten an email from one of the textbook purchasers saying ‘I’m going to be on campus. (I’m) happy to meet with you and buy any desk copies you’d like to get rid of,’” Cordle said. “That came to my attention, and I thought ‘Maybe this is a good opportunity to remind everyone that we can’t really sell those books.’”
The policy comes from the Kansas Board of Regents and applies to all Kansas universities, according to Kevin Johnson, general counsel of the university.
“This is a common practice and includes books being sent without a request, as well as a book sent in response to a request from a faculty member,” Johnson said in an email to The Bulletin. “The faculty member is free to use the book as they wish and is only restricted in disposing of the book. The book could be sold or thrown out or donated, but it must be done pursuant to this policy. In all situations, though, the faculty member cannot receive payment for 'selling' the book, since the faculty member didn’t buy the book.”
Both Cordle and Johnson said they were not aware of any time a faculty member was disciplined for violating this policy.