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BG24 Newscast
April 18, 2024

  • Jeanette Winterson for “gAyPRIL”
    “gAyPRIL” (Gay-April) continues on Falcon Radio, sharing a playlist curated by the Queer Trans Student Union, sharing songs celebrating the LGBTQ+ experience. In similar vein, you will enjoy Jeanette Winterson’s books if you find yourself interested in LGBTQ+ voices and nonlinear narratives. As “dead week” is upon us, students, we can utilize resources such as Falcon […]
  • Poetics of April
    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
Spring Housing Guide

BiG Charge under fire

SBX is continuing their crusade to convince the University to change their B!G Charge system. SBX manager Kent Kokomoor and attorney Dan Kinsella assert that the B!G Charge gives the University Bookstore monopoly power and hinders competition, which hurts students.

“This is in the interest of the students,” Kinsella said.

Under representation of Kinsella, SBX sent a letter to the University’s Thomas Trimboli, assistant to the president in the department of general counsel, on March 8 claiming that the B!G Charge violates several federal antitrust and anti-competition statutes found in sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act.

As of yesterday, the University has not officially commented on the situation.

Kinsella’s letter stated that Section 1 of the Sherman Act prohibits contracts, combinations and conspiracies in restraint of trade. Kinsella said that the University’s exclusion of SBX from the B!G Charge program constitutes a restraint of trade and is denying consumers the benefit of full competition. He said that the B!G charge also violates Section 2 because the University is using its power created by the card to exclude competitors in the bookstore market.

The letter was passed along to Attorney General Jim Petro who responded on April 5. His letter said that the B!G Charge is a legitimate and sovereign act of immunity and the Sherman Act was never intended to apply to the sovereign acts of the states. He also sighted the 1989 Cowboy Book Ltd. v. Board of Regents for Agriculture ‘ Mechanical Colleges case which ruled that Oklahoma State University was exempt from the Sherman Act. Petro’s letter also stated that, like OSU, BGSU is immune from the Sherman Act.

Kinsella said that he believes that the Attorney General’s office is inaccurately applying the law to the situation and that the letter failed to contest the fact that the program is anti-competitive.

“It’s an unfortunate response for students and consumers of books at the University,” he said. “It’s the kind of response that slams the door in the face of the students.”

Kinsella is in the process of sending Petro another letter in an attempt to work out the problem outside of court.

Kokomoor hopes to see some sort of change to the B!G Charge, since the new City Bucks program has done little to help boost sales at SBX.

Chris Herron, a representative from City Bucks pointed out that allowing the B!G Charge off campus will hurt the University because they will be left paying SBX when students fail to pay their bills. He said that SBX and other businesses need to give City Bucks time to develop, since it is only a year old.

“A similar program at Miami University [Ohio] is over two years old now and is very successful, but the first couple of years were slow until the program caught on with students,” he said.

Miami University has MUBucks, which is run like the University’s City Bucks, and both can only be used off-campus. They also have the Mulaa program which is accepted only at on-campus locations such as the Miami University Bookstore and dining centers, like the B!G Charge. However, Mulaa is set up like a debit account, where as the B!G Charge is set up like a credit card.

The Ohio State University and the University of Toledo both have successful debit card-style programs off campus. Neither of these Universities offer a credit card-type account for on- or off-campus use.

Jon Gear, Director of Buck ID at OSU, said that it was an “operational decision” not to offer students a charge card. He said that the university didn’t want the burden of having to hunt students down who fail to pay their bills.

Kokomoor said that he is competing for business against the University, and unlike Ohio State, Miami University and UT offers a charge card. He believes that students and parents have no problem putting $50 into their City Bucks account, but they are less likely to deposit larger amounts of money to cover the cost of books. He said that when they have the option of charging the larger amount to their B!G Charge, they will are more than likely choose that option and pay the bill later.

Kokomoor said that he welcomes a debit card-type system like City Bucks that can be used on and off campus to replace the B!G Charge.

“I don’t really have a problem with City Bucks, I have a problem with City Bucks and the B!G Charge operating at the same time,” he said.

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