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Senate supports The New York Times online archive, health insurance plan, LEDs in The Cabin

Story by Nate Beck, Chief Copy Editor

Instead of hunching over a microfilm machine in McIntyre Library, UW-Eau Claire students can now browse a complete New York Times archive online.

Student Senate voted during its last meeting of the year Monday to pledge $8,000 toward a $39,882 online database of Times stories dating back to 1851.

“The library is looking for ways to make it easier to get that hard information,” John Pollitz, director of Libraries, said.

Pollitz said McIntyre seized a chance to buy the database about two weeks ago. The library has been dumping its print records online for years, and unveiled an online search engine update this fall.

“Even I know — and I’m old — microfilm is not the best way to read articles,” Pollitz said.

Students can use the database to find a Times review of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” or search for Gettysburg Address coverage, Pollitz said.

But users can’t read complete Times issues, he said. The database isn’t set up for browsing, just searching specific keywords.

McIntyre asked Senate’s Information Technology Commission to pledge a chunk of its carryover fund toward the cost of the archive buy.

ITC Director Christian Paese said the commission declined a motion to pledge about $19,000 toward the Times archive and settled on $8,000 because a select group of Eau Claire students use the library search engine.

“When we’re doing projects it has to be highly visible to a majority of students,” Paese said. “I’m an accounting major, I’m probably not going to be needing an article from the New York Times from 1890. But we still feel like it’s a necessary thing to support.”

In other Senate news

— LED lights will spotlight performers in The Cabin by next fall. Senate approved about $28,000 to replace Cabin light bulbs with 27 LED lights. The Davies Center was equipped with LED lights before the new student center was constructed in 2011.

— Senate voted to extend Eau Claire’s campus health insurance policy unopposed with no discussion Monday. The plan, which costs about $1,400 a year for an unmarried student, was amended to meet Obamacare standards.

— A Senate resolution commended outgoing Director of Athletics Scott Kilgallon. Under Kilgallon’s ten-year tenure, Blugolds sports teams won three national titles and 27 conference championships. Athletes maintained a combined 3.0 grade point average or better during each year.