MSA approves pilot newspaper program

After a debate Tuesday, the Minnesota Student Association Forum endorsed a campus-wide newspaper subscription trial and

rejected support for federal legislation that would attempt to cap tuition increases.

The USA Today Collegiate Readership Program is running a free pilot program in residence halls and hopes to sell the

University on a permanent campus-wide plan.

Under the program, students would have access to free copies of USA Today, the Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press at various locations.

After the pilot program, MSA will evaluate the project before

deciding whether to endorse a

permanent program, which could be financed with about $5 per student per semester in Student Services Fees.

Forum member Aaron Hartung supported the program and said it is important for students to have multiple news sources.

MSA Vice President Jeff Nath said he was concerned the major newspapers would draw readers away from The Minnesota Daily.

“I do see the value in campus newspapers,” Nath said. “News on campus will be lost in this shuffle.”

Forum member Adam Van Wagner said newspapers are free online and opposed asking for more

student fees.

“Of course we want the papers when they’re free,” Van Wagner said. “But we don’t need them when it costs money.”

However, Forum member Andrea Weinreich said print newspapers are more accessible for students.

The Forum voted 24-19 to approve the resolution. MSA leaders said the campus-wide pilot program will run this winter or next semester.

Tuition cap

Forum member Ryan Johnson sponsored a resolution to support a bill in Congress that would penalize universities that raise tuition faster than the rate of inflation. The resolution – which would have also had MSA members lobby Minnesota’s congressional delegation to support the bill – was defeated 22-30, with one abstention.

The resolution drew support from Republican Forum members.

Johnson, a College Republican, and Andy Pomroy, a University DFL member, debated the bill for nearly an hour.

Johnson said the issue was clear-cut.

“What’s best for the students isn’t what’s best for bureaucrats,” he said. “You either stand for the students or you don’t.”

Pomroy said work-study programs and some loans would be cut under the bill and called on John Engelen, University director of federal relations, to speak.

Engelen said the bill would put public universities at a disadvantage because they depend on public money.

“We think it disproportionately punishes low- to medium-income students,” he said. “Eleven million dollars of student aid money wouldn’t be received with the bill.”

After each speech, Forum members applauded their side. Others were annoyed by what they called overt partisanship.

The Forum also voted on and overwhelmingly approved one of four Project Lighthouse resolutions, calling for better campus lighting and placement of emergency phones on every block of the University area.