U. of Minnesota Students Reject ‘N.Y. Times’ Giveaway

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

The University of Minnesota’s Student Association has rejected a program that would use student fees to provide copies of The New York Times for free on campus.

Members of the association’s Academic and Services Committee voted 5-1 against the program, with some saying they feared it would hurt the student-run Minnesota Daily, according to an article in Tuesday’s Minnesota Daily by Chad Hamblin.

This was the second time Minnesota’s student government rejected a college readership program. Last year, it declined a program proposed by USA Today.

Both the Gannett paper and the Times have aggressively promoted college readership programs, which are funded by student fees and provide free copies in dormitories, student centers, and other campus sites.

The proposals sometimes run into opposition from student papers, which fear losing readers or even advertisers if a local daily is part of the program.

The Daily’s co-publisher and business operations officer, Melissa Lapin, said in a telephone interview that the paper is “definitely for readers of newspapers, and we promote that … but we do not promote the use of student fees for a newspaper program.”

The non-profit Daily receives about 14% of its funding from student fees, she said, and about 75% from advertising sold by students. “We’re not afraid of competition,” she said. “Myself, being a student, I would rather have my money go for a student organization. I don’t think we should give The New York Times over $200,000 at a time when there are student organizations getting cut.”

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