After two and half years of negotiation, UF has recently informed the Alligator that it will be removing 19 of our orange racks by Aug. 15, conveniently at a time when fewer people will be around to notice the changes.

These 19 Alligator racks, which are in some of the most visible places on campus, will be replaced by large black modular university-owned racks, similar to the ones on Turlington Plaza. In order to use these new racks, the Alligator will have to sign a licensing agreement and pay a fee to UF to lease space for our papers.

By removing our racks, we believe the UF administration is not acting in the best interest of the students. With UF now controlling our distribution on campus, what happens if we have coverage of the UF administration that they find unfavorable? Will this change our relationship with the university?

The uncertainty of this new arrangement will create a chilling effect, hampering our ability to provide students with the most accurate and unbiased coverage. Students might also receive less important news and information in the future.

The new modular racks could also have a negative effect on our readership. They are less visible than our orange racks and are less protective against inclement weather.

Because we are independent, we rely on advertising funds to operate. If the new racks cause our circulation to decrease, we could potentially lose advertisers, meaning students will get fewer papers, fewer pages and less news.

Retired UF economics professor David Denslow Jr. at the UF Bureau of Economic and Business Research has been analyzing data to see what effects this change would have on our circulation, but the administration has refused to let him finish his work before removing our bins.

Today, we ask you, the Student Body, to help us Save The Racks. For more information, you can visit www.alligator.org/savetheracks. On the website, you can find and sign our petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/university-of-florida-stop-removal-of-the-alligator-s-newspaper-racks-from-uf-s-campus, which we will be presenting to the administration.

No other publication at UF does what we have been doing for the students of this school for 106 years.

This is certainly bad for the 50 people who work at the Alligator each semester.

It’s even worse for the 50,000 UF students who rely on our ability to provide comprehensive, independent and unbiased news.