Readership program reduced to two locations

Empty news stands signal changes in the readership program. Photo by Jessica Warren
Empty news stands signal changes in the readership program.
Photo by Jessica Warren

As many of the newspaper stands across the Colorado State University-Pueblo campus are removed or sit empty, students, faculty and staff have been left with questions regarding the readership program that has been part of the university for the past few years.

In the past, members of the CSU-Pueblo community had been able to access free daily copies of newspapers like the Pueblo Chieftain, Denver Post, USA TODAY and The New York Times at a number of locations on campus.  The Student Readership Program provided the papers and was sponsored by the CSU-Pueblo Associated Students’ Government and the Office of Student Life as far back as 2009.

Until the fall 2014 semester, the program had been funded by student fees and contributions from academic and nonacademic departments on campus. Due to budget issues, changes were made regarding how student fees were allocated to the offices and programs on campus. The changes in student fee allocation had a significant effect on the funding for the readership program.

After the changes in student fee allocation, the cost of continuing the readership program for the 2014-2015 academic year became the full responsibility of the ASG and the Office of Student Life.

“To continue to fund the newspapers for this academic year, ASG and Student Life have cut costs in other programs and activities to keep the readership program going,” said ASG President Timothy Zercher.

In 2014, the ASG and Student Life reviewed the success of the readership program. Using the information they obtained from a utilization data report provided by USA TODAY, they concluded that the readership program was not as successful as they had hoped.

“ASG and Student Life believed that the program was underutilized based upon the utilization data,” Zercher said. “It was decided last year that some of the funding for the program could be put to better uses in other areas of student life.”

The two organizations have been trying to determine what to do with the readership program.

“There was talk of fully doing away with the program, but as this semester has progressed, we have received some comments from students and staff regarding the program,” Zercher said.

As a result of the feedback they received, the ASG and Student Life decided to continue the readership program with some minor changes. They opted to discontinue the least popular newspapers and reduce the number of newspaper stand locations on campus to two.

Newspapers can now be found in the Library and Academic Resources Center and the Occhiato University Center.

The contract for the readership program will expire at the end of the spring 2015 semester. Zercher said the ASG and Student Life will continue to review utilization data and make further decisions about changes to the readership program at that time.

“As things continue to change with the program, ASG will continue to make them (the changes) as public as possible,” he said.