As a New York Times reader, I can’t sleep in on Fridays, even if I don’t have class, because I know, if I am too late, the newspaper racks will be empty. Perhaps you’ve spotted me in Commons on those days when I’ve overslept. I’m the frazzled looking girl with hair sticking up every which way sifting through the recycling bins, trying to assemble a complete paper out of discarded sections.
Although not all students currently read The New York Times regularly, the speed at which papers are taken shows that demand is high enough to match the number of papers we currently receive. I do not want to have to start arriving at Commons at nine in order to snag a paper, but the case for keeping The New York Times is stronger than simply protecting my right as a Yale student to not get up early on Fridays.
When Yale provides free copies of The New York Times, it is doing more than saving me the six dollars a week it would cost me to get my own copies Monday through Friday. Although I would be glad to pay for a subscription (and do have The New York Times delivered on Saturday and Sunday), many students pick up The New York Times and read it regularly because it is free and available.
Yale is cozening us into becoming regular newspaper readers after college by letting us make a habit of it now, cost free. And by getting college students hooked on newspapers, Yale is helping to create well informed, broadly informed citizens, which I believe is an important part of our mission as a liberal arts university.
Reading the print edition of The New York Times is different from reading it online. Reading the paper in print forces you to see all stories, even while skimming, and allows an article outside your normal interests to catch your eye. Print papers broaden interests, online subscriptions allow people to read only what they seek out.
It also is valuable to have common sources of news on campus allowing students to spark conversations by gathering around an interesting article or passing around copies of the paper. To be honest, it’s valuable to have a source of outside news on campus, period — as important and interesting as front page stories about notable prefrosh may be to some students, there is a world outside the Yale bubble and we are better for being physically confronted with news from it.
The fact that fewer than half of the students in the Yale Daily News study said they read the paper more than three times a week should have no bearing on whether Yale should continue to provide The New York Times. Many of the resources Yale offers are not used by all students, but they are available to everyone on campus. I would never advocate cutting dance studios, wood shops, printing presses or weight rooms simply because the majority of students don’t use them. Whether we use them or not, we benefit from the creative uses that Yale students find for these resources. They add value to a Yale education.
Students are continuing to support The New York Times. The Facebook group has grown, as has the petition. Hopefully, President Levin and the Yale College Council will recognize the importance of keeping The New York Times on campus, but here’s one more student hoping that the University will find other ways to save money. Perhaps, it can start with the YCC.
Leah Libresco is a junior in Jonathan Edwards College.