Two members of the Connecticut General Assembly issued a joint statement on Wednesday expressing disappointment with the University of Connecticut’s decision to replace its UConn Co-op Bookstore with a Barnes & Noble.
“I am extraordinarily disappointed by the UConn Board of Trustees’ decision to replace the independent, non-profit Co-op with a Barnes & Noble,” wrote State Sen. Mae Flexer, D-Killingly. “Since this proposal was first put forward, I have fervently opposed this change, which will bring to an end a four-decade legacy of what is truly a student-governed and member-owned cornerstone of the UConn community.”
State Rep. Greg Haddad, D-Mansfield, gave a similar statement.
“I made my opposition to this transition clear to the president of the university and to the Board of Trustees,” Haddad wrote. “Our community will mourn the loss of the non-profit, membership-run UConn Co-op as it is replaced by a large national corporate entity.”
The university announced on March 11 that it would be ending the 41-year-old Co-op due to doubts about its financial stability.
On April 27, the Board of Trustees approved a contract with Barnes & Noble. The legislators released their statement the same day.
“We have lost a locally-owned business with the Board of Trustees’ decision,” Flexer wrote. “Time will tell if we have also lost a source of competitively-priced books, a number of job opportunities with adequate wages and the unique characteristics that have nurtured the community that the Co-op has served so well for forty years.”
Both legislators said they were pleased that Barnes & Noble agreed to retain employees of the Co-op at their current pay levels.
“Barnes and Noble will have to work hard to win the loyalty of local customers that the Co-op earned over 40 years of service,” Haddad wrote.