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Student Senate Discusses Collegiate Readership, Smoking Sanctuaries

Jordan Shearer | Staff Writer | 11-28-2011

One of the items discussed at this past week’s Student Senate meeting was the topic of the Collegiate Readership program that BSU may be implementing.  Jane Vail of USA Today presented a slide show, demonstrating the statistics from the pilot program that was conducted earlier in the semester.
During the pilot program, an average of 405 newspapers were picked up daily by students: 102 copies of USA today, 157 copies of the Bemidji Pioneer, and 146 copies of the New York Times. Taking into consideration the fact that each copy changed hands more than once, Vail said that “On average the program is reaching a little less than 1,100 students per day.” This number is slightly less than a third of the 3,800 students that attend at least some classes on campus rather than studying solely online.
Based on the statistics above, the costs of the newspapers, and the number of students that the cost would be spread over, there would be a student fee of $3 per semester to keep the program permanently.
A survey of 250 students was taken both before and after the pilot in order to gather their opinions of it.  In these surveys, some students indicated that they would like to see the Star Tribune included in the program. So, Vail did a cost analysis of what would happen if the New York Times was taken out and the Star Tribune was added instead.  This would cause the student fee to increase a dollar more per semester.  However, it has not yet been decided whether or not they will make that change.
After the presentation of the Collegiate Readership Program, the Senate began to look at several presented bills.
Senate passed a bill that asks the university administration to work with City Council to provide an additional street light along the trail east of Sattgast Hall.  The bill was motioned by Senator Tyler Brown and seconded by Senator Jake Svare. Brown said “we still have a long way to roll with it,  but this is the first step towards really getting approval.”
The Senate also discussed the bill that would allow “smoking sanctuaries” on campus. According to the bill which was presented by Senator Nick Nelson and seconded by Senator Dylan Davidson, there would be stations set up on both the academic and residential sides of campus that would include “benches, protection from the wind, and a receptacle for cigarette buds.”
The bill brought quite a bit of opposition from the members of the senate.  Senator Kari Cooper described the bill as retroactive.  She mentioned that there should not be compromises to the already established rule and also that “now that the policy’s in place, we need to stand our ground.”

Along the same line, Co-Chair Amy Brown said it does not make sense to put smoking sanctuaries in the main “hubs” of campus since most students surveyed last year said they did not want to be around secondhand smoke. Nelson defended the bill, however, saying that it is a compromise.

Nonetheless, the bill was rejected.