Student Assembly debates free newspapers for students

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February 19, 2010

3:05 AM

The College of William and Mary Student Assembly passed the Consolidated Reserve Interest Act and discussed the Get With the Times Act.

The Consolidated Reserve Interest Act endorses the writing of a letter to College President Taylor Reveley and the Board of Visitors advocating that interest accrued on the Consolidated Reserve Fund be placed in the “Save a Professor” account.

The Get With the Times Act would use consolidated reserve funds to distribute 200 copies of national newspapers daily throughout campus.

“This is one of the best proposals I’ve heard about how to spend this money,” Sen. Curt Mills ’13 said.
Sen. Betty Jeanne Manning ’12 cited the success of last year’s Collegiate Readership Act during her proposal and explained that this year’s plan is considerably cheaper.

There was debate over which newspaper should be delivered, whether to subscribe for the remainder of the semester or the entire year and which buildings should be used as drop-off locations.

Previously, a poll conducted by the SA showed that 64 percent of students would like The New York Times to be available on campus. The Washington Post was also among student favorites, while USA Today was the least popular option.

Purchasing newspapers for the remainder of the semester would cost approximately $17,000 for The Washington Post, $20,000 for The New York Times and $18,500 for a hybrid plan, which would bring 100 copies of each publication to campus each day.

Sen. Imad Matini ’11 advocated for the hybrid plan.

“For only $1,500 more, we can please more people,” Matini said.

Manning said that while it would be simpler to subscribe for the 2010-2011 year, it would cost the same as subscribing for the remainder of the 2009-2010 school year.

Sen. Noah Kim ’13 expressed concerned that bringing two national newspapers to campus might diminish student publication readership.

“It would push out student publications,” Kim said.

A senator noted that by January 2011, The New York Times will begin charging for full access to its website.

Sen. Steven Nelson ’10 said the SA should not spend money on a newspaper that campus can read for free for the rest of 2010.

He added that the Post is more relevant to students since more people at the College are connected to the Washington, D.C. area and its classifieds section might be better-suited to student needs.

In response to the suggestion that this initiative was not environmentally friendly, Manning plans to place signs at newspaper distribution points asking students to return newspapers when they are finished reading.
The bill will be discussed in committee before a final decision is reached.

In other business, bike locks can now be purchased at the William and Mary Police Station and the Sadler Center thanks to the newly implemented Bicycle Theft Prevention Act.

Chairman Ben Brown ’11 also told the senate that the Ping Pong Provision of the Purposeful Playing Act II, which passed last week, is proceeding as planned. He intends to purchase the ping pong balls and containers for the Sadler Center and the Campus Center this week and have them installed by next week.

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