IMPORTANT UPDATE: On Tuesday, April 16, 2013, I received an email from Laurel Cornell, President of the Indiana University Friends of Art, stating that the IU Friends of Art Bookshop ”must close because its existence violates the contract which Indiana University has with Barnes & Noble for the sale of books.” Cornell indicated that Friends of Art generates “a significant portion of its income” from the Bookshop. That income, in turn, goes to support “the programs of the Indiana University School of Fine Arts and the IU Art Museum by providing over $30,000 every year in scholarships and grants,” according to the FOA webpage.
Today my local newspaper, the Bloomington Herald-Times, is reporting that the closure of the FOA Bookstore will not happen after all, and that the whole controversy was the result of a misunderstanding: “Leaders of the Friends of Art organization came away from a recent meeting believing the store violates an existing contract between IU and Barnes & Noble. That contract has Barnes & Noble College Booksellers LLC paying IU for the right to be the university’s only textbook supplier. But an IU spokesman said Tuesday that the contract does not prohibit the art bookstore’s existence. And a Barnes & Noble representative said the company has no knowledge of the Friends of Art issue.”
The Indiana Daily Student offers a somewhat different account: “Mark Land, associate vice president of University Communications, said the situation is still being worked out. ’We don’t know for sure what’s going to happen to the bookstore,’ Land said. ‘As of right now, no decision has been made on the fate of the store. Regardless of what ultimately happens, it won’t be a result of our contract agreement with Barnes & Noble.’”
The broader issue I addressed in my original post—the privatization of public universities—remains. But for now, I am more hopeful today that the IU Friends of Art Bookstore will remain in operation on the Indiana University Campus.
I thank all of my readers for your support and interest in the issue. I have taken down my original post and will provide additional updates should more details become available. If you’d like to follow up-to-the-minute developments on your own, there’s also a “Save the Friends of Art Bookshop” Facebook group.