This semester the Student Association newspaper racks lay empty as the SA scrambles to find funding for the immensely popular program that brought The New York Times to campus every weekday, free of cost.
During the 2011-12 school year, Binghamton University teamed up with the New York Times College Readership program to deliver 400 copies of the paper to campus every weekday.
Kate Flatley, former SA vice president for academic affairs, sought the funding for the program last year, according to Aaron Ricks, the current VPAA.
“My predecessor Kate Flatley was able to raise the money by requesting all of the funds necessary for a discounted trial program from the Off-Campus College Council and the Financial Council, in the same way that dozens of student groups do each year,” Ricks wrote in an email.
However, the program was not a part of the regular budget, and did not extend into the current school year.
“As of yet, the program is not an item on the regular SA budget that was passed at the end of last semester,” Ricks said. “No one in the SA decided to cut the program, the New York Times program simply does not receive annual funding like SA-sponsored student groups.”
Ricks said he is actively pursuing funding to bring the program back for this school year.
“Such a service does have a price tag, and the total cost of the program is upwards of $20,000 for an entire academic year,” Ricks explained. “Thus far, I have submitted a funding proposal to new Dean of Students, the University Provost, Sodexo, and Community Governments to see if we can develop a funding plan that can bring The New York Times back to campus this semester without hurting the ability for SA groups to conduct their regular programs.”
Mary Hogan, a senior in the Decker School of Nursing, said she does not believe the University should get the paper if it does not fit in the budget.
“Personally, I think it is reasonable that the University might not have the money for the program this year,” Hogan said. “There’s already a few newspapers on campus anyway, so the school might not consider an additional paper as a top priority.”
The SA, which, according to Ricks, is in full support of the Times College Readership program, is currently working with the University to bring the newspaper back to campus.
“There is unanimous support among members of the Student Association Executive Board for the program, and they have been very supportive of me and my efforts to try to raise the funds for the program,” Ricks said.
He said he would like to make the program a permanent addition to the SA budget.
“If the program continues to be successful, I sincerely hope we can add it to the annual budget for next year and make The New York Times a staple service that the SA provides to students,” Ricks said.
Many students have already noticed the loss of the program, according to Ricks.
“I have had students come in to my office every day asking me why there are no New York Times on campus this semester, and I hope that community government leaders and University officials will see how important this program has become for the students,” he added.
Lily Green, a senior majoring in political science, said she relied on the paper last semester to keep up with international news.
“I feel like not a lot of kids these days read the newspaper, and this was our chance to do so,” Green said. “I am upset because it was a chance for students to read an actual newspaper instead of just the local newspaper about Binghamton or the school newspaper about events on campus.”
Julia Mielczarek, a senior majoring in politics, philosophy and law, said she is disappointed to lose a top-tier newspaper such as the Times on campus.
“The New York Times is a paper with substance,” she said.