IRHA removes newspaper program, discusses options for student dues


Brian Achenbach/Iowa State Daily

The Inter-Residence Hall Association will discontinue the residence hall newspaper program. The pragram was responsible student access to free newspapers such as USA Today and The Des Moines Register in the residence halls.

Dalton Bergan

The Inter-Residence Hall Association has decided to discontinue the residence hall newspaper program.

The residence halls currently provide The Des Moines Register, The New York Times and USA Today inside the buildings’ main entrances.

IRHA vice president Anthony Behnke met with a representative from USA Today on Feb. 7 to reach a final decision regarding the program.

This program has supplied ISU students with newspapers since 2001. The Chicago Tribune used to be available to students, but has since been dropped.

IRHA voted at the Feb. 6 meeting to reduce the number of newspapers being carried. After a majority vote to keep only the Des Moines Register, Behnke told members of the IRHA that he would bring up their proposal during his meeting with the USA Today spokesman.

With limited options, Behnke and the representative talked out all of the alternatives. The spokesman informed Behnke that USA Today is currently in the process of designing a new web-based app that would allow users to read the USA Today in a more convenient way.

“They’re in the works of beta-testing for a big online platform for this whole program,” Behnke told his fellow IRHA members. “We’ll hopefully have an actual idea of when it’s going to be [available] in the next year.”

“I tried to get just The Des Moines Register, but in order to do that, we would have to get both the USA Today and The Des Moines Register,” Behnke said. He said that trying to keep hard copies of the newspapers would just lead to more problems than solutions.

When the suggestion to change the newspaper program started, IRHA asked ISU students what they’d like done with the dues put toward newspapers every year. Each student pays $7 toward the newspaper program, but without newspapers to put the money toward, IRHA is looking into other options.

One possibility would be to cut the dues completely, meaning students would just pay $7 less per year. Other options include reducing the dues and possibly using them to fund activities for students.

While Behnke was the only one to meet with the USA Today representative, all students and IRHA members had a say in the decision. After speaking with his hall’s residents, IRHA member James Burkholder said, “I think that getting rid of the newspapers was a great idea and so did my hall as well as other halls by the looks of the vote.”

IRHA plans to discuss how they will use or reduce student dues at upcoming meetings.