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Friday, December 01, 2023

In Tuesday’s article on the availability of The New York Times on campus, the Alligator made some serious errors in reporting.

The article focuses on Student Body President Christina Bonarrigo’s efforts to reinstate the program, but it fails to mention that the program was initially canceled under Bonarrigo’s purview in May 2013, not May 2012 as stated in the article.

The real story here is not that Bonarrigo “made the free New York Times program reappear on campus,” but that it took her over six months to bring back the service that ended because of her carelessness.

To review the facts, SG had a contract with USA Today and the New York Times to have 460 copies of each paper available daily for students on campus.

Under the budget that Bonarrigo oversaw as chairwoman of the senate budget committee, the readership program was assigned $40,000 for the 2012-2013 school year, even though the full cost was over $66,000.

When Student Government neglected to pay the remainder, the newspaper companies were forced to void the contract. By this time, Bonarrigo had been elected student body president.

According to reporting from the Alligator in May 2013, representatives of the newspapers had difficulty reaching members of UF SG, and only heard from Bonarrigo after the Alligator contacted her for comment.

From my personal experience serving as a student senator, Bonarrigo and other members of the Swamp Party-dominated SG dragged their feet and refused to take action to reinstate the beloved program. Instead of trying to find a permanent, sustainable solution for providing students with access to The New York Times, or any nationally recognized newspaper, the budget committee chose to cut future funding for the program entirely, while other budgets received only 5 percent cuts, or none at all.

While Bonarrigo’s failure to serve the students is not news to me, the true disappointment was the Alligator’s lack of journalistic standards. Perhaps the Alligator should have referred to differing views — or even their own reporting — before they published such a pathetic puff piece.

A version of this letter to the editor ran on page 7 on 1/17/2014 under the headline "Inaccurate reporting in Tuesday’s Alligator"

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