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Volume 70, Issue 161, Thursday, August 4, 2005


Newspaper plan will have to wait

SGA fails to vote on proposal to adopt pilot program offering three free daily newspapers on campus

By Tina Marie Macias
The Daily Cougar

Although the Student Government Association did not have enough senators present to vote on legislation at their Senate meeting Wednesday, they did discuss one new bill.

Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Sen. David Rosen intended on presenting legislation that would allow the Collegiate Readership Program to come on campus for a four week pilot program, but only three senators were present -- four, half of the Summer Senate, are needed to vote.

The program, headed by USA Today, would place three newspapers -- USA Today, The New York Times and the Houston Chronicle -- on campus for free.

"It will help people on the college level -- of all majors -- in keeping up with current events, because a number of classes require to follow the world's happenings closely," Rosen said.

The proposed pilot program would begin Sept. 19 and end Oct. 14 and put the newspapers in six locations -- the University Center, the UC Satellite, the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library, the Philip Guthrie Hoffman Hall, Bauer College of Business and the Agnes Arnold Auditorium lobby.

Rosen said 326 colleges and universities participate in the Collegiate Readership Program. A case study at Penn State University found that 77.4 percent of students picked up at least one of the papers once a week.

During the four weeks, program officials would keep count of how many newspapers are being picked up from the locations.

If the proposed pilot program goes well, then the SGA will consider a bill calling for a referendum sometime in Fall 2005, allowing students to vote on whether to keep the program on campus for an unset, extended period of time, which would be funded by a $2.50 student fee.

"The pilot would really be a good indication of what the cost would be. We truly don't see it going over the $2.50 for student; if anything, it's more likely to be $1.75 per student," Senior Account Manager for USA Today Mary Joe Lawry said. "If it becomes a paid program, the school only pays for what gets picked up."

Lawry said that they conducted a pilot program a few years ago, but results only placed newspapers in the residence halls, which did not produce accurate University-wide results.

Rosen may present the bill at the next Senate meeting at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 17 in the UC Underground Mediterranean Room. If enough senators attend the meeting, it will be put to a vote.

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