Due to cuts in funding, ASWSU will decrease the number of newspapers it provides to students on campus starting Oct. 1. ASWSU’s Collegiate Readership Program provides the CUB, the CUE, Todd Hall, dining halls and other popular places on campus with The New York Times, USA Today and The Spokesman-Review.
About 94 percent of papers distributed are picked up by students, with The New York Times and USA Today at a 96-percent pick-up rate and The Spokesman-Review with a 90 percent rate, ASWSU President Riley Myklebust said.
“I think (the papers are) a great resource for people to have,” he said.
ASWSU pays 50 cents for each copy of The New York Times and 45 cents for each USA Today paper, Myklebust said. The Spokesman-Review now charges 35 cents per copy, a 10-cent increase from last year’s price, he said.
While students do not pay to pick up individual papers, they fund the program through the annual Services and Activities Fees (S&A Fees), which ASWSU uses to fund various projects and clubs. However, last spring the S&A Fees Committee voted to allocate $54,800 to the readership program. This is about $4,400 less than last year’s funding amount.
To decide which paper, or papers, to reduce, Myklebust and ASWSU Director of Media Relations Ramón Armenta posted a survey on ASWSU’s Facebook page.
The survey asks which paper students read most, and which paper students would reduce. ASWSU will base its reductions off the survey, which will close Wednesday, Sept. 21, Myklebust said.
“We really need students to vote and tell us what they think because if you read a paper and then you don’t tell us that you like that paper and we reduce it … we want students to have a week’s worth of (the option) to take 30 seconds to log on to Facebook and tell us what they think,” he said.
He said ASWSU is unlikely to eliminate a paper completely, and it does not have the power to cut USA Today because it provides the package.
However, as budgets continue to be tight, more cuts to the program are likely in the future, Myklebust said.
The Residence Hall Association (RHA) is also considering cutting from its readership program, RHA President Jordan Vandermeulen said. RHA provides residence halls with copies of the same newspapers that ASWSU supplies.
Vandermeulen said the two-year contract is up, and the RHA council will vote on the funding for the new contract Monday. The council may cut The Spokesman-Review, he said.