Letter: No need for The New York Times

Re: For a paper in print (Feb. 1): When I first heard that the University planned to remove The New York Times from our dining halls, I, like many, was angry. To me, access to the Times represented access to a form of higher quality information and demonstrated that the University encouraged its students to engage with the world — a principle that in my mind justified the expense.

At the heart of Yale’s greatness, however, lie two things: the students who walk through its gates and the professors who teach these students. The New York Times is important, but Yale’s foremost mission must be to maintain the student body and attract strong faculty members.

The next round of cuts threatens this mission. As reported in the News on Friday, to close the $100 million deficit, the University will be cutting its graduate student enrollment by more than 10 percent. Not only will fewer students have access to a Yale education, but those of us in the college will lose our teaching assistants. The repercussions range from the annoying — tighter lecture caps, fewer TAs trained in the subject they’re teaching — to the intangible — a decreased flow of ideas and a less rich educational experience.

But TAs will not be the first hit teaching at Yale has taken. Tenure-track positions have already been lost to budget restraints. As students, we are here for too short a time to see all of the effects, but soon Yale’s teaching body will be hamstrung. I’m not saying that Yale will fire any of its most famous professors, but they may be unable to attract replacements for them when they retire.

Admittedly, the savings from the Times subscription would not be enough to cover the costs of a tenure track position or graduate students. But it’s a start. The right thing to do is not to keep the Times; it’s to cut it, and then find something else and then something else besides. To be sure, it will be painful. But choosing what to cut should be about academic principles, and as a community, it’s our responsibility to come together to preserve what matters the most — our education.

As the cliche goes: The youth are a nation’s greatest resource. Well, as the youth, our professors and TAs are our greatest resource.

And the Times (for now) is free. Just go online and check it out.

Benjamin Daus-Haberle

Feb. 5

The writer is a sophomore in Davenport College.

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