At least this paper is still free…Like many of my fellow students, I am appalled by the University’s decision to cancel the USA readership program, which provided the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the USA Today to students free of charge. How can I be faithful to our motto of “Veritas Unitas Caritas” without these papers to illuminate the truths in a dark, deceitful world? In an election year, the University seems determined to keep Villanova voters uninformed. Denied easy access to printed media, students are apt to find themselves trapped in the “Villanova Bubble”, unaware that an outside world even exists. The University cannot claim to offer a comprehensive liberal arts education if it denies students the ability to follow current events. I’m expected to take two semesters of history so I can graduate as a well-rounded individual, but no one cares if I can identify Moktada al-Sadr. Who is more likely to affect our lives, Al-Sadr (the leading perpetuator of violence against Americans in Iraq) or King Louis-Philippe (Orleanist King of France, 1830-1848)?For a comprehensive understanding of the news, nothing can substitute for a newspaper. Televised media lacks the depth of printed media; the stories are all condensed into sound bites. Thirty seconds is not enough time to fully explicate Kerry’s position on the war or Bush’s position on stem-cell research.The option of purchasing a subscription is a costly one for some students already struggling under the financial burden of a Villanova education. Forcing students to purchase a subscription to the New York Times smacks of classism, another privilege afforded to the wealthy. Furthermore, what student on South or West campus is willing to walk to Kennedy Hall and back during a snowstorm or torrential rain so they can read the New York Times before class, especially if they prefer the Philadelphia Inquirer? Newspapers delivered to each dorm encourage a better informed and more involved student body. Some are quick to point that the Wall Street Journal is still available in Bartley. However, a business-oriented trade journal is no substitute for a comprehensive, internationally renowned paper like the New York Times. While some may disagree, many students believe there are more important issues than the economy. Wasn’t it St. Augustine who said, “Business is in itself an evil, for it turns men from seeking true rest, which is in God”? Moreover, for the sake of parity, a newspaper such as the Times is needed to balance out the right-leaning Wall Street Journal.The removal of the USA readership casts the dark clouds of ignorance over a formerly bright Villanova sky. I call on the University to reinstate the program immediately and allow our quest for veritas to resume.
-Jim SaksaClass of 2007