College Supply Closing

J.P. Goodwin

While administration officials refused to confirm that the university’s College Supply department was being eliminated, the decision appears to be one of the worst kept secrets on campus. Last Friday, College Supply resembled Filene’s Basement on wedding gown day, as students, staff, and faculty swarmed the office in order to get supplies by the deadline for purchase orders.

According to David McKenzie, vice chancellor for administration and finance, there has been no official announcement on the status of College Supply. McKenzie declined to comment further on the issue.

Denise Wilcox, head storekeeper at College Supply, reported that she has received “no official word” that her department was closing.

But according to a number of College Supply employees, and a host of other sources on campus, the department will be phased out by June 30 of this year.

“They’re [the UMB administration] not telling us much of anything,” said one of these employees, who added, “It’s been hectic down here since people heard we’ve been closing.”

Sources at College Supply explained that it’s unclear at this point as to how exactly a new system for ordering supplies would work. Approximately $300, 000 worth of supplies are ordered annually through College Supply.

“I guess they would have to get supplies through a credit card system. They really haven’t explained any options to us. I think PeopleSoft has something to do with it,” noted one employee, who asked to remain anonymous.

College Supply currently maintains an inventory of approximately $100,000. They also research state-contracted vendors for the best prices difficult to find items. “You think people are going to take the time to search around for the best price once we’re gone,” stated one employee, who guessed that the department “saves the university $100,000 a year,” adding that to their knowledge, no “cost studies” have ever been done

Questions have also been raised about the delivery of supplies. “This is definitely not a convenience driven issue,” noted one source.

College Supply currently employees two full-time staff and five or six students, all of whom will be losing their positions.