More Bad News For Newspapers: Rice Cancels Its Student Subscriptions

As if the journalism world isn't reeling with news of layoffs, buyouts and doing goddamn more to goddamn less, here's more bad news: Rice is canceling all its student subscriptions to the Houston Chronicle and The New York Times.

They'll save $30,000 by doing so.

We went to UH, not Rice, so we're not familiar with the luxurious standards of service out there on South Main.

But the Rice Thresher is not happy: "That means no morning papers in the college commons. No morning crosswords over breakfast, no Style section, no Sports section, no Business section and no front page news," an article says.

The op-ed by Catherine Bratic blames guys, in part:

At Hanszen College, where my loyalty lies, the announcement of the termination of newspaper subscriptions was immediately followed by a money request to spend $2,000 on a new 66" television for the game room, an amount that would easily cover 15 year-long subscriptions to both The New York Times and the Houston Chronicle.

There is a reason that you do not let 19-year-old boys choose between big screen TVs and newspapers, and it is the same reason that you do not let fourth graders choose between history class and recess. It is the educational institution's duty to ensure that its students are educated, and at times, that means making important academic decisions for them. Students should not be forced to choose between their social life and academic lives. After all, that is the reason that we are all paying Rice $30,000 a year: because we trust that the university can do a better job of educating us than we ourselves could do.

It's a losing battle, Bratic. Especially during March Madness.

Update: Rice's media guy, B.J. Almond, has this to say:

The residential colleges' subscriptions to the Houston Chronicle and New York Times have traditionally been paid for by Rice University's Office of the Dean of Undergraduates. Due to budget cutbacks in response to the economy's impact on Rice's endowment, the dean's office will not be able to pay for those newspaper subscriptions during the 2009-10 school year. However, each residential college has the option of renewing the subscriptions with its own funds, and early feedback to the dean indicates that they plan to do so.

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