SAINT PETER—In an attempt to provide students with a variety of payment options, The Bookmark, Gustavus’ campus bookstore, is offering customers the ability to purchase their textbooks with either human organs or a pledge to offer their firstborn children to the store. The options have come as a relief to students, who biannually struggle to afford their required texts via the traditional payment methods of cash, check, credit, or student account.
Gustavus Senior Jaden Schealy, in a phone interview conducted from the inpatient wing of River’s Edge Hospital, claimed the ability to pay for his Principles of Biochemistry textbook with four ounces of bone marrow and a gall bladder was a huge financial relief for his family. “I may lack the ability to store bile, and my left femur might feel like a cardboard sleeve, but at least I don’t have to take out another loan!”
Schealy’s sentiment has been echoed in the incoming Class of 2018. In a Facebook comment made Tuesday afternoon, first-year Rachel Swenson wrote, “I knew coming to Gustavus was going to be a financial stretch. It was stressful to know that on top of paying for tuition, housing, recreational alcohol, and a meal plan, I had to decide between taking on extra work hours on campus to afford my books, or simply not buying what my professor’s require. Throwing in the options of harvesting extraneous organsm or sacrificing a child will allow me to focus on the important stuff—my courses, my extracurriculars, and my recovery from a rapidly-spreading post-operation infection.”
To students unable to make the trip to an organ-harvesting facility, the firstborn child pledge presents yet another convenient payment option. Young children are a valued commodity on campus, as Gus the Lion demands regular feedings in exchange for his service as the college’s most lovable cheerleader.
While The Bookmark has not yet announced what it intends to do with the harvested organs, it is widely speculated they will simply sell them to students in need with a 300% price markup.
The new policy has drawn criticism from some members of the campus community for being unsustainable. “Sure, I can cough up a kidney for Calculus and an unborn daughter for Microeconomics today, but what about next semester?” asked sophomore Joseph Anderson in a public campus forum.
In response to this concern about continually paying for needed course materials, many students advocated for a proposed Indentured Servitude Program, though several were quick to point out this system would be virtually indistinguishable from the current student loan process.