Thanks for the articles regarding the Associated Students of Orange Coast College’s “ownership” of the campus bookstore and its claims to revenues from Starbucks sales.

These issues matter greatly because, contrary to past history, the questions were recently raised by the Coast Community College District board — perhaps at the prompting of two Orange Coast College students. But it means we may finally get to the truth.

I write to clarify three points

First, that notwithstanding the Nov. 4 headline “Bookstore under investigation,” as far as I know, no question has been raised about that day to day operations of our campus bookstore, the competency of its management and personnel or the practices of the operator, Follett.

To me, we have a clean, beautiful, fair, responsive store we can all be proud of.

Second, the “bookstore” issue trustees Patterson and Prinsky placed on the Oct. 21 district board agenda was not about the bookstore’s curious 2008 name change (from the Associated Students to the OCC bookstore) or whether college administration attempted to divert $75,000 contractually earmarked for possible bookstore renovations under the Follett contract to build out an administration office in Watson Hall.

Rather, the issue is how, why, who knew and how much it cost for the bookstore remodel this past summer — after a substantial remodel just a year earlier.

While it’s a board question, it’s also vital to students because, I believe, it’s our store and it affects student body revenues.

Most important to me, I want to emphasize and credit the utterly invaluable role played in prompting a full audit of many student body funds questions played my friend and colleague, OCC art student Helen Hawthorne.

Helen is a retired, career banker, who has served and given leadership in virtually every aspect of the field; operations, trusts, construction finance, audit, takeovers and restructuring and yes, investigations into financial wrongdoing.

Helen has worked days, nights and weekends, and under discouraging circumstances, for four years to help the student body and student government learn how to protect and wisely allocate its revenues and savings.

She’s an inspiration to all who believe in public service.

Lynne Riddle

student and

vice president of fiscal affairs

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