Where have all the papers gone?

The Collegiate Readership Program, i.e. the source through which students have been able to attain various free newspapers during recent years, has had to reduce the number of newspapers it provides this semester.

The stands that normally exhibit stacks of publications such as The Huntsville Item, The Houston Chronicle, USA Today, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal (a separately funded entity) have been seemingly empty lately. Many students have noticed this change and are curious about the cause of the decrease.

“We’ve had students ask questions and make comments,” junior Yusuke Kamiya, LSC Information Center employee, said.

Kamiya noted that there might be more than one reason why so many copies of each publication would disappear off of the racks to only a few hands.

“Some people take a whole stack of newspapers, maybe to bring back to an office. Not that we don’t want people to do that, but there are only so many papers,” Kamiya said.

Dean of Students John Yarabeck said that the reason for the narrow distribution of papers is due to diminishing funds allocated for the Readership program this school year.

“This year we’ve had a $65,000 budget, which is funded by student service fees. Basically, that figure is spread out over two semesters,” Yarabeck said.

Yarabeck met with Vice President Frank Parker, several others from student services and representatives from USA Today yesterday to discuss future funding for the Readership Program. During the meeting, the group discussed possibilities for unearthing additional funds to build the body of papers back up.

“We had a meeting this morning to try and find money,” Yarabeck said. “We’ve put in a proposal for student service fees to increase the amount of papers, but costs are going up.”

Yarabeck explained that although the Collegiate Readership Program is a priority for some, money for the program comes from the “complex” pool of money from Student Services, so there are other factors to be considered.

“Students can show their support [for the program], but they should keep in mind that there are a lot of things funded by student service fees, like sports equipment- it is very complex,” Yarabeck said. “It is up to the committee how much funding goes towards the program.”

Regardless of what is decided, the meeting that took place, in addition to student interest displayed in groups including the Student Government Association, should spark more support for the continuation of the program.

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