Student Association to continue newspaper program

After a successful month-long pilot of supplying free newspapers, the Student Association voted this week to fund the program’s continuation for the rest of the semester.

The organization set aside $4,500 to maintain daily delivery of The New York Times as part of its mid-year allocations bill, which passed the senate Feb. 13.

Rohan Batra, SA vice president of academic affairs, said the cost covers 200 copies of the newspaper per day through May.

Until this year, the University paid $52,000 annually for the collegiate readership program, which included daily deliveries of The Times, The Washington Post and USA Today. The program, run by USA Today, was slashed in September, driving SA members to seek out alternative ways to bring newspapers back to campus.

“It’s the SA’s job to take the money paid for by students each year and spend it the best possible way,” Batra said.

He added that if the SA continues to see high readership rates for the rest of the semester, the organization will lobby the University to pay for a portion of the program’s cost.

Batra and SA President John Richardson spent months negotiating with news outlets for a cheaper deal before forging an agreement with The Times to provide one month of papers at no cost to gauge student interest.

Unlike the previous readership program, in which papers were delivered to the lobbies of main academic buildings, all residence halls and the Marvin Center, The Times is only delivered to the SA office in the Marvin Center.

Batra estimates that the SA will pay about $100 per day for the 200 copies.

After tallying the number of leftover papers each day during the first half of the trial run, the Student Association reported that more than 90 percent of the papers were picked up 11 out of the 15 days. Since Feb. 1, at least 99 percent were picked up.

“Clearly, the papers are still in demand,” Batra said.

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