While walking across campus, you’ve probably tripped over a tattered copy of The Wall Street Journal at some point.

Heaps of unread Wall Street Journals cover the porches and front yards of the student neighborhoods south of campus. Their orange bags are almost as ubiquitous as Michigan hoodies and sweatpants.

The newspapers aren’t delivered to student neighborhoods by the truckload because people want to read about the stock market. They appear all over campus because of students taking economics classes.

Some classes at the University include complimentary or low-cost subscriptions to The Wall Street Journal.

Many students in these classes sign up for the Journal with little or no intention of reading it, though.

Sometimes, the trial subscriptions continue to pile up for months, even after the trial subscription has ended. Perhaps because newspapers make most of their money by selling ads and want to boost their circulation numbers, they often have little incentive to update their subscription lists.

Leaving your copy of the Journal to rot on the front lawn could get you or your landlord a costly ticket, though.

Chapter 82 of the Ann Arbor Municipal Code says homeowners can be charged with a fine of up to $500 or be imprisoned for up to 90 days for leaving “litter, handbills or newspapers” on their properties.

Campus Realty maintenance staff remove the papers from in front of the company’s apartments, said Campus Realty employee Ashley Bannister.

“We have never gotten a ticket,” Bannister said. “We clear the newspapers out of the front yards of our properties every two days.”

Bannister estimates that Campus Realty’s maintenance crew collects between 50 and 75 unwanted copies of The Wall Street Journal from the lawns of their 130 apartments every two days.

Not everyone is so diligent about throwing away their unwanted newspapers, though.

If students or neighbors are bothered by the spectacle of a rotting pile of Wall Street Journals, they can report them to the Community Standards department of the Ann Arbor Police department.

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