Missouri State University misspells name on student book bags

12:30 PM, Feb 14, 2013   |    comments
The MSU bookstore handed out about 6,000 book bags with the word 'university' misspelled. (Photo submitted to Springfield News-Leader)
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Steve Pokin, Springfield News-Leader

The Missouri State University bookstore, already trying to recover from having a longtime director resign in August over missing funds, last month suffered the embarrassment of handing out 6,000 free book bags with the word "university," as in Missouri State University, misspelled.

The maroon canvas bags, with a Bears logo, contain the misspelling "univeristy." MSU spent $70,844 for 17,800 book bags, at a cost of $3.98 per bag. About 6,000 were handed out last month, with an additional 2,500 destroyed. Half of the bags will have the right spelling and will be given out in August.

"It will be correct in how we spell the place where we work," said Earle Doman, MSU vice president of student affairs.

The university has no recourse to recoup any part of the cost because, first, the original artwork for the bag, submitted by MSU, had the word misspelled and, second, MSU later approved a proof of the artwork sent by the vendor, which contained the misspelling.

The mistake was discovered after a few hundred bags were given out to students, said Doman. The decision to continue to hand them out, misspelling and all, was made by bookstore staff, who did not consult interim bookstore management, Doman said.

There was no bookstore director at the time because Mark Brixey resigned in August on the day he otherwise would have been fired, according to Paul Kincaid, MSU's chief of staff.

Brixey had offered no explanation to MSU auditors as to why $500,000 (at last count) was missing in bookstore funds and why $81,000 in cash was discovered in his desk, Kincaid said.

On Thursday, Kincaid said the university's audit is ongoing, as is an investigation by Springfield police. Other than that, he said, there is nothing new to report. Brixey has not been charged with a crime.

Brixey's replacement, Sonda Ropp Reinartz, started Jan. 14, the day spring classes began. Doman said the series of mistakes regarding the book bags occurred before Reinartz was on staff.

"Welcome to campus," Doman said.

The way the bookstore operates is that students' book orders are placed in the complimentary bags in advance. At one point, Doman said, there were 6,000 bags filled with book orders on shelves.

After a couple of hundred bags were handed out, a customer brought the mistake to the attention of a bookstore employee, Doman said.

Bookstore staff then made the decision to continue to hand out the bags, already filled with orders, without consulting interim bookstore management or any MSU administrator, Doman said.

The university would have preferred they had consulted someone. Doman said the university would have immediately decided to stop handing out the "univeristy" bags.

"We would have come up with an alternative," Doman said. "We would have come up with plastic bags had we learned of it. We have talked about those things in the past. It is just not worth it."

After the 6,000 prefilled orders were handed out, Doman said, the remaining 2,500 canvas bags were destroyed.

The logo design was made by the bookstore's marketing manager. A proof of the vendor's work was approved in July, a month before Brixey's resignation.

The vendor is Cares Industry Inc., in Farmingdale, N.Y.

Springfield News-Leader

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