UNC-Chapel Hill has received eight proposals as it considers outsourcing the 100-year-old university owned student bookstore – including a bid from the store’s current employees.
Three of the proposals involve running a full-service bookstore. The others propose to sell virtual course materials at a kiosk or storefront.
UNC has hired a national consulting firm, Campus Bookstore Consulting Corporation, to help with the proposal process. An internal, 13-member advisory committee will review the proposals and invite some of the bidders to make presentations March 14-15. The committee, to be composed of faculty, staff, students and administrative representatives, will make a recommendation in the spring.
UNC is not releasing the vendors’ identities or proposals until a decision is reached.
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The move to outsource the operation of the UNC Student Stores has prompted protests from students, faculty and staff. The self-supporting store with 50 staff and 200 student workers generated $400,000 in revenue for scholarships last year. But in an informal offer last year, bookstore giant Follett told UNC officials it could generate an annual commission of at least $3 million.