Pitt News Editorial Challenges Student Government Decision to Suspend Collegiate Readership Program

A new editorial in The Pitt News at the University of Pittsburgh is calling for the school’s student government to reverse its recent decision to suspend the Collegiate Readership Program on campus.  Through the program, in place on many campuses nationwide, free copies of USA TODAY and The New York Times are regularly available for students.

According to a separate Pitt News report, the reason for the program’s suspension was not its cost ($30,500 a year, taken from the Student Activities Fund) but the “unlimited access” faculty, staff, and Pittsburgh residents had to the papers.  An SGA member: “I think it is worthwhile and definitely something we should continue to have on campus. . . . [But] we don’t want to use the activities fee to fund something that everyone could use.”

One action being considered is the installation of locked dropboxes holding the papers that can only be accessed by students through an ID card swipe.  The problem, according to the Pitt News, is that this plan has no timetable for being carried out.

As a portion of the editorial calling for the program’s renewal states, “In the age of The Huffington Post, Google News and other aggregate sites, readers have more news sources at their disposal than ever before.  But not every media outlet is first-rate, and many students might still prefer reading one or two high-quality newspapers– an opportunity the recently halted Collegiate Readership Program afforded. . . . To read the Times in print is to immerse yourself in a rich, well-designed document; to browse the paper’s website is to sample a dozen or so articles, videos and graphics, none of which command your full attention.”

What do you think?  Is the Collegiate Readership Program a success on your campus?  Do students really, as the Pitt News argues, “still prefer reading one or two high-quality newspapers” each day?

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