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Editorial: New York Times program too important to be cut

By Editorial Board
On April 13, 2012

  • The OneVoice Movement brought Palestinian Nelly Soudah and Israeli Odelia Englander to the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center yesterday to discuss the conflict in the Middle East.

During last month's campaign for Undergraduate Student Government officers, each of the four tickets running for President and Vice President were asked during the debate to name one program currently receiving USG funding that they would seek to cut first. There seemed to be little controversy on this matter - all of the candidates expressed their willingness to cut UConn's New York Times Readership Program. This program, which began in 2008, currently supplies certain locations - the library, South dining hall and the Student Union, for example - with a total of 600 copies of the New York Times daily. Though purchasing upwards of 50,000 newspapers represents a significant drain on the USG's budget, we feel that it is a program of critical importance to the student body and should not be quickly or willingly sacrificed to budget cuts.

The New York Times Readership program is perhaps the program currently receiving USG funding that benefits the most UConn students on a daily basis. For those who actively seek to understand and analyze current events, reading the day's copy of the newspaper is an essential part of one's daily routine. Even for those who are not quite so interested in the news, the presence of a stack of newspapers in the library or at the entrance to a dining hall serves as a reminder or encouragement to spend at least a few minutes reading the front page or glancing the headlines. And for the devoted few who fill out the day's crossword puzzle or read art and literature reviews, the program is irreplaceable.

We urge USG above all to consider the great value that having merely hundreds of copies of The New York Times on campus provides to the approximately 20,000 students residing and studying here. But we recognize that the USG is in a tough budgetary situation, and if cuts to the New York Times Readership Program must be considered, we suggest that some solutions may be possible that do not diminish students' access to the news. It may be advisable to stop delivering newspapers to the Student Union or the Co-op, where it is more likely that a non-student, who does not pay for the program, will pick up a copy. USG may also wish to look into providing comprehensive Internet access to the New York Times' website, which is increasingly obstructed by paywalls for those who do not subscribe. But in all considerations, USG must first recognize the importance of newspapers to students and protect the program that provides them from unnecessary cutbacks. 

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