Due to the recent increase in the price of the New York Time—rom 30 to 45 cents per university cop—unding for the Wesleyan Readership Program is slated to run out early next semester. The program, which was started nearly nine years ago, distributes free copies of the paper across campus Monday through Friday.

The New York Times Readership Program offers a discounted subscription to educational institutions that wish to provide copies of the paper to students. For the past few years, the Organization and External Affairs Committee (OEAC) of the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) has brought 700 copies of the Times to campus five days a week at the price of 30 cents each. Annually, such distribution cost a total of $25,000, with $15,000 being paid by the WSA, $6,000 by the Office of Academic Affairs, and $4,000 by the Office of Student Affairs.

“This is a partnership between the WSA and the administration,” said WSA Vice President Saul Carlin ’09. “It benefits the entire community.”

Last year, David Booth, manager of the New York Times Readership Program, alerted former WSA Vice President Emily Malkin ’08 that the price would increase to 45 cents per copy—a 50 percent increase—over two semesters. As a result, the annual cost of the program increased to $41,650.

Last semester, when the transition price of 40 cents per copy went into effect, the OEAC reduced the number of copies delivered daily to 600 in order to meet the annual $25,000 budget.

“Almost half the papers that are picked up are picked up in Exley,” Carlin said. “A lot of professors are picking these up, and a lot of professors like the idea of their students reading the New York Times every day.”

With that in mind, Malkin began reaching out to various academic departments in order to seek funding to continue the program. However, when the WSA approached the departments, the Office of Academic Affairs decided that their contribution to the program would function as an umbrella contribution from all academic departments, thus eliminating any extra funding the WSA had hoped to receive.

In order to continue the program, the OEAC proposed a proportional contribution increase: the WSA, the Office of Student Affairs, and the Office of Academic Affairs would each increase their funding by 43 percent. Additionally, the students approached the Office of Admission for funding assistance. OEAC’s proposal suggested that the WSA contribute $21,500, the Office of Student Affairs contribute $5,700, the Office of Academic Affairs contribute $8,600, and the Office of Admission contribute $6,000.

Dean of Students Rick Culliton vetoed the proposed funding increase.

“We are in the midst of a five-year review of our budgets, trying to make reductions across the University,” said Culliton. “In looking at our own budgets and needing to make reductions, [the New York Times Readership Program] is a very nice thing to have on campus, but in our view it’s not something that is essential.”

Dean of Admission Nancy Meislahn was unable to accept the WSA’s proposal, due to the present policy that the Office of Admission only provide funding to activities that are directly related the office, not to student activities.

“I believe that the New York Times Readership Program is a fantastic admissions tool,” Carlin said. “ I remember when I was visiting as a pre-frosh, I was on a balcony looking down on people eating and I saw half the tables with New York Times papers spread open and students reading and discussing what was going on. The WSA believes that the program is directly related to Admissions. We have prospective students coming here and seeing what I saw. The whole community benefits from this civic engagement that happens when people can pick up a copy of the New York Times, sit around a table in Usdan or in Pi, read what’s going on, and talk about it.”

The OEAC currently faces a rapidly depleting fund, even with the decreased number of papers being delivered.

“It’s not that Admission didn’t want to [fund the program], it’s not that Dean Rick didn’t want to do it, it’s that the administration doesn’t want to do it. It’s that wherever we go, there seems to be an assumption that the WSA can foot the bill all on our own, and we can’t,” Carlin said.

The students are continuing to make their case to the administration and seek a proportional increase in funding. However, unless an agreement is reached, the fund will run out sometime in early spring—effectively ending the Readership Program.

“It’s not that anyone in Student Affairs doesn’t think the program is a nice thing to have on campus,” said Culliton. “It’s just that at this point, as we look at tight budgets, it’s harder to justify that.”

Carlin hopes that a sense of urgency as the deadline nears will encourage members of the Wesleyan administration to agree to funding increases.

“Holding a paper in your hands is a completely different experience than reading the news online,” he said. “To lose that experience on this campus would be a real tragedy.”

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