The campus community may soon have daily access to one of the most well-recognized newspapers in the world. A proposal on the Michigan Student Assembly ballot will gauge students’ reactions to the University adopting The New York Times College Readership Program, which will allow students to pick up a copy of the newspaper around campus for just $4 per student each semester. When voting today, students should support the program, and give MSA the chance to push it through the administration.
The proposal coincides with The New York Times website’s introduction of an online subscription fee. Starting March 28, readers of the online edition will only be able to read 20 articles each month for free. People who wish to read more articles than the limit allows will have to pay for an online subscription for full digital access, which can cost more than $450 each year. In contrast, the College Readership Program will only add $4 per student to each semester’s tuition, which is a small price to pay for this important resource that students might not otherwise seek out. This relatively minor expense provides students with more extensive and detailed information about national and international issues.
If the proposal passes, the program — which has been successfully implemented at more than 400 campuses nationwide including Ohio State University and Pennsylvania State University — will distribute 3,000 to 4,500 copies of the paper at different drop boxes around campus Monday through Friday. Any student will be able to pick up a paper just like they pick up The Michigan Daily. By reading The New York Times, students on campus can stay informed about what’s going on in the world beyond State Street and engage in conversations with their peers and classmates. Even professors can take advantage of the new program by connecting concepts taught in lecture to real-world events, encouraging students to employ their knowledge outside of the classroom.
In addition to the discounted price, The Times offers several perks for schools that commit to the readership program. According to a March 16 Daily article, participating campuses can schedule speaking events with Times journalists, as well as other services uniquely available through the program. For just a few dollars a year, students would have the opportunity to engage with some of the most established writers in journalism today and discuss some of the most pressing current topics with leading political minds.
If this agreement is passed, students need to take advantage of this opportunity. Students should pick up copies of The Times and learn about what is going on outside of campus boundaries. If they don’t, their small investment of $4 is wasted.
As college students, it’s our responsibility to engage in global events and to understand the world that we’re about to enter. By providing students with low-cost access to The Times, the University can ensure that we really do know “all the news that’s fit to print.” At $4 a semester, we can’t afford not to.