Utah Policy Would Restrict Profs' Royalties From Books

Critics say the policy could "[sow] the seeds of mistrust" between students and professors.

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If self-promoting professors have always left a foul taste in your mouth, head over to the University of Utah, where faculty and administrators have approved a policy that would prohibit professors from receiving royalties from books they assigned in class, the Daily Utah Chronicle writes. The proposal, which is pending approval by the Board of Regents, would still allow teachers to assign any text they want, but royalties from their own books must be donated to charity or another organization.

Critics say the policy could "[sow] the seeds of mistrust" between students and professors, and those on both sides of the debate point out that the practical impact of the ban is minimal: One professor (who supports the policy) makes 7.5 percent in royalties on the $21.95 paperback edition of his book—a whopping $1.65 per copy.

"The royalties most of us receive on our books are so small that the policy will make little practical difference one way or the other," the English professor said. But, he adds, "professors do have a lot of power over their students, so any policy that assures students that they are not merely a marketing category is valuable."