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including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

To the Editor

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 31 - May 4, 1995

Dear Editor:

In regard to the new University Volume Two Bookstore (as described in the April 13 Spectrum), has anyone asked whether the new store's general book enterprise competes unfairly with the existing bookstore at University Mall? No business need be protected from fair competition, but doesn't the new bookstore's general books department (the part of the store in direct competition with the private store in the mall) have an unfair advantage because of its connection to the university?

I understand that the Volume Two Bookstore is operated by Virginia Tech Services Inc., a non-profit corporation affiliated with the university. Presumably, therefore, no state funds are used directly to support the operation. It is the indirect support, by virtue of the new store's affiliation with the university, that concerns me. The Spectrum story itself is an example. The article was not part of an advertisement paid for by Virginia Tech Services; rather, it was free publicity in a taxpayer-supported university newspaper. Is such indirect support occurring in other ways as well?

These are sincere (not rhetorical) questions about the fairness and propriety of Tech-affiliated enterprises competing with local businesses. I would really like someone at Virginia Tech Services Inc., or whoever might be appropriate, to respond.

Sincerely,

Alan Raflo

Department of Agricultural and

Applied Economics

See Response in this issue