A narrow majority of student voters in Wednesday’s Association of Students of the University of Nebraska elections didn’t approve the Collegiate Readership Program, but ASUN president Eric Kamler said the program is here to stay.
The readership program, which provides free copies of The New York Times, USA Today, the Omaha World-Herald and the Lincoln Journal Star to students five days a week, receives $4.37 per student per semester. It failed by 36 votes, with 2,315 students voting against and 2,279 students voting in favor. But the program is a Fund B user, Kamler said, meaning that student vote can’t eliminate it. Rather, the University of Nebraska Board of Regents will address the issue at its March 15 meeting.
“It won’t be controversial,” said Kamler, a senior agricultural economics major. “You can’t get that kind of quality at that kind of price anywhere else. It’s silly to even consider axing the program.”
Kamler said he emailed all of the regents about the program after he saw the election results and will visit with each of them in person before the board meeting.
Kamler said he isn’t sure why students voted down the program, which ranks third in distribution among the 450 college readership programs nationwide.
“Maybe they didn’t quite understand what the program was about,” he said. “I think people were mostly just confused.”
Senior English major Kaitlin Harvey said she “was really disappointed in the student body.”
“I have a lot of friends who rely on the program for their news,” she said. “As much as the Daily Nebraskan is a good paper, it’s not what The New York Times is.”
Dan Kiser, a junior family science major, said he thought the vote came down to cost.
“I think it’s pretty crappy of (the voters),” he said. “Even if all students don’t read it, some do. Probably they thought it was unnecessary because it didn’t apply to them.”
Kamler said he’s recommended that the next ASUN president organize public information sessions before elections to inform students on the services their fees are funding.