The Georgetown University Student Association is seeking permanent funding to renew the university’s online subscription to The New York Times after the subscription expired at the end of the 2016 spring semester.
For the past two years, the subscription was funded on an annual basis. This year, GUSA hopes to secure a permanent source of funding for the subscription to allow for continuous student access to the subscription year round.
GUSA is currently petitioning the university libraries for funding, after the Provost’s Office rejected initial requests.
GUSA Vice President Chris Fisk (COL ’17) said that with the new funding GUSA will not have to raise money annually.
“GUSA and students don’t have to be fundraising on an ad hoc basis for this every year,” Fisk wrote in an email to The Hoya.
GUSA Deputy Chief of Staff Casey Nolan (COL ’17) said the library is the department most well-suited to handle the costs of the subscription.
“We feel that, with the cost of the subscription and the scope of its purpose, the subscription is best borne by the library,” Nolan wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Since its introduction two years ago, the subscription — which cost $3,700 last year — has been funded by varying university offices, including the French department and the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship, on an annual basis.
GUSA previously applied for funding for the subscription each year by contacting all campus departments to request funding assistance, according to Nolan.
Nolan said GUSA relies on funding from university departments to purchase the subscription due to constraints on GUSA’s budget.
“In the past, funds have been appropriated from generous on-campus donors,” Nolan said. “We really don’t receive enough funds to take on the yearly cost.”
This is not the first time GUSA’s subscription to The New York Times has been cut. Students were unable to use the subscription last summer before access was returned in early September.
GUSA’s Collegiate Readership Program previously paid for print copies of The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today around campus until March 2014, when the program was discontinued due to high costs.
GUSA introduced online access to The New York Times in September 2014 to replace the print editions.
The New York Times was chosen for its wide coverage and versatility as a news source, according to Nolan.
“We chose [The] New York Times because we feel it has more of a global scope than other papers, in addition to being more of a general purpose paper, as opposed to something like The Wall Street Journal,” Nolan said.
According to Nolan, if GUSA fails to secure funding it will consider other options to renew the subscription, including returning to finding money on an annual basis.
“If we do not receive funding in full, I anticipate that we will meet at the beginning of the school year to talk about next steps, what is best,” Nolan wrote. “We will decide at a later date whether we want to explore ad hoc funding among the various University departments.”
The transition between GUSA administrations contributed to the lapse in funding for the subscription. The previous GUSA administration did not attempt to renew the subscription while it was in office, according to Nolan.
“Unfortunately, our full administration only came into office in late March/April, leaving us little time to look for funding before the end of the year,” Nolan said. “I do not believe the other administration began searching for funding for the new year.”
Graduate Student Government President Alexander Plum (GRD ’17) said the group is working with GUSA to renew the subscription.
“We are still in discussion with GUSA with regards to funding for The New York Times subscription,” Plum wrote in an email to The Hoya. “No further details are ready to be made public at this time. However, we are committed to working with GUSA on these issues.”
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