Patrick Rochelle: Find funding for the New York Times

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo
Patrick Rochelle

Like many students, I start my day by reading the paper. But unlike most, who receive their news online, I still enjoy holding a physical newspaper.

The Student Association is revoking its subscription to the New York Times, instead allocating funds for other items such as a $10,000 Xerox machine for student organizations to use, according to an article in The Hatchet Sept. 4.

Funding the daily newspapers has become a perennial problem at the University. And just like last year, the Student Association is struggling to find a way to afford it.

The fact that the SA can no longer afford to cover the New York Times subscription is the first sign that its budget has been stretched too thin. This is in large part due to the growing number of student organizations on campus. Now more than ever, the Student Association should use this as an opportunity to increase the $22.50 annual student fee.

And to ensure that we never have to face this problem again, the SA should set aside a specific amount of its budget each year to fund this subscription. We would not have to wade through the fountain of SA allocations each fall if there was already money to support the subscription.

According to an article published in The Hatchet Sept. 8, 2011, “Daily paper delivery falls to budget cuts,” the Collegiate Readership Program was cut in 2007 and 2008 only to be reinstated and finally dropped again last fall.

In 2011, Associate Provost and Dean of Students Peter Konwerski justified getting rid of the newspaper service by citing a lack of student interest in the program. But the argument that students are no longer interested in the free newspapers is simply not true. It is important to offer students who do not pay for an online New York Times subscription this educational resource.

The SA should use this issue as an opportunity to figure out its budget situation before the problem spills over and has damaging effects on other departments and student organizations.

I do not begrudge the SA for choosing to purchase a new Xerox machine this year. It will benefit students. However, the SA must realize that the newspaper subscription is something many students have come to rely on and it should be taken as an equal priority.

I realize that the SA’s subscription to the New York Times is expensive. I realize that it seems like a low priority in a year when the budget is already tight. But this program is essential to many students at this University, and it would be a shame to see it come to an end.

Patrick Rochelle, a senior majoring in English, is The Hatchet’s opinions editor.

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