Dustin Steinhoff, News Editor
The Collegiate Readership Program, which provided University of Missouri–St. Louis students and faculty copies of daily newspaper publications such as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, USA Today and The New York Times, has been cut.
The program also encouraged faculty to construct ways to implement the newspapers in their courses. While students and faculty were able to pick up issues of the newspapers on campus for free, the program was funded through UMSL student fees. The cancellation of the Collegiate Readership Program was decided upon by the Division of Student Affairs leadership team and approved by the provost due to the department’s tightened budget.
“Like most units on campus, Student Affairs was faced with additional budget cuts for this fiscal year. I worked with the Student Affairs leadership to determine where such cuts could come from and tried to gauge the impact on the cuts we needed to make,” Curtis Coonrod, vice provost for Student Affairs and dean of students, said.
The decision to cut the program had been considered by Student Affairs for multiple years prior to their ultimate decision to cancel it this year.
“As we have had cuts for several years in a row, the Collegiate Readership Program had been considered before but we were able to continue the program in the past. However, this year, given our cuts, unfortunately we needed to eliminate this program,” Coonrod said.
The cancellation comes after a large drop in the UMSL students and faculty pick up rate of the daily newspapers while they were available.
“We were seeing about a 50% reduction in readership,” Coonrod said.
Students and faculty had previously been able to find the publications provided by the program in places such as the Millennium Student Center and the Thomas Jefferson Library.
Thomas Jefferson Library Senior Library Information Specialist Ted Ficklen and other members of library staff discovered the Collegiate Readership Program had been cancelled within the first couple days of the semester.
“We took the rack down when we found out the campus had cancelled the program,” Ficklen said.
Within the first week of class, Ficklen did not have many students ask him what had happened to the newspapers, but did have a number of teachers ask where they had gone.
“As far as students, we have had maybe two ask. Most of the questions have come from either faculty or staff,” Ficklen said.
Despite the end of the Collegiate Readership Program at UMSL, students and faculty are still able to access print and electronic issues of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, USA Today and The New York Times at the library.
“I hope that if students are looking for news information, they will come by the library and get help from us finding specific citations about what they need and not get their news on social media,” Ficklen said.