Indiana University faculty seem to be more upset than students about the decision to no longer provide free copies of the New York Times and USA Today on campus.
“In terms of people who responded on the ‘ask us’ or ‘contact’ section of our website, it was all faculty,” said Daniel Niersbach, president of the IU Student Association.
For more than a decade, IU was part of the Collegiate Readership Program. It grew from a partnership with Pennsylvania State University’s student newspaper readership program. Then-Penn State President Graham Spanier started the program in 1997 with a goal of increasing student awareness of national, local and world events. USA Today partnered with Penn State in the fall of that year. Today, the national newspaper manages the Collegiate Readership Program, which is in place on campuses across the country.
Which newspapers are offered varies from one participating university to the next. At IU, students were able to use their ID cards to pick up print editions of USA Today and the New York Times from various locations across campus Monday through Friday. While students didn’t have to pay for the newspapers each time they picked one up, they were funding the program through mandatory student fees. Every two years, IU’s student-led Committee for Fee Review examines those fees and makes recommendations to campus administrators and the IU Board of Trustees about how that money should be allocated.
The IU Student Association’s special projects account received money from student fees for the readership program. During the 2015-16 academic year, the IU Student Association spent $81,650 on the program, Niersbach said. Last spring, the Committee for Fee Review determined that money would be better spent elsewhere.