By Chelsea Hetelson
A Fine Print Box in three easy steps: Paint, Tag, Distro!
*Spoiler Alert: We have reason to believe it’s been saved.
With all the misinformation, misleading arguments, and out-of-date facts coming from banners on the tops of popular websites, we at The Fine Print thought we’d set the record straight with those monolithic modular boxes on campus.
This past summer The Alligator launched a website and petition they called Save the Racks in response to UF’s over-three-years-in-the-making decision to eliminate free-standing private newspaper boxes from campus. The Alligator claims confining them to black modular boxes is a violation of free speech because they can’t have their orange boxes. And with their knee-jerk reaction of a website and petition thrown together just weeks before the deadline to remove all independent racks, the Alligator is reacting as if they’ve just been hit with this news.
The truth is all publications who have been distributing on campus since 2009 have been aware of the entire process and have even been given the opportunity to meet with the Business Services Division (BSD), the entity in charge of the newspaper box distribution system, and have their voice heard.
The Fine Print has documents and emails from the BSD ranging from 2009 to present notifying us of the 2009 UF 2.003 Distribution of Printed Material, which was the first notice of the new change, their timeline for removal of private racks, notification of the removal of boxes and where they were moved to, the fact that there would be a fee for the use of the modular boxes and inviting us to meetings to make sure our voices are heard and even accepting our input by writing it into the regulation.
The most important issue to us as a small publication was the proposed fee to use the modular boxes. So we did meet with the men of BSD on multiple occasions and we did give input that was incorporated as part of the written regulation, which was to ensure that new publications have a window to use the modular boxes for free as they are just getting started to ensure free speech and improve the chance of success of any newly-created student publications. This happened in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
In August of 2012, the Alligator tried to sue UF for not preserving the free speech distinction between orange boxes and black boxes and began a website and online petition to “Save the Racks.”
However, as of Oct. 16 UF has released an updated 2.003 Distribution of Printed Material document which makes concessions for all unhappy parties. Not only does the new 2.003 regulation allow previously existing non-modular boxes to remain as they are, thus letting the Alligator keep their existing orange racks, but it also, and much more importantly, completely gets rid of the original plan to charge $50 to $100, per slot per semester, and will continue to offer the space for free. Publications are currently, and have been for over a year, using the modular boxes for free.
That fee would have been a huge portion of The Fine Print’s printing and operating budget and would have severely limited our ability to distribute to UF students on campus. With that fee gone however, The Fine Print fully endorses the new modular boxes. And we’ll tell you why.
First, we think the modular boxes will make it easier for UF to maintain the boxes and keep a cleaner campus.
Second, getting back our own newspaper boxes in exchange for having to use the nine slots in the modular boxes actually lets us redistribute the boxes we had on campus to other parts of Gainesville.
Third, more boxes out and about town means increased reach and distribution, which in turn increases our promotion, ad sales and revenue.
Fourth, distributing on campus is now doubly free, by currently not having to pay for the modular boxes or having to use our own racks that we paid for, and getting those paid-for racks back and relocating them elsewhere in Gainesville.
Really, the fact that our stickers won’t be the biggest or our color won’t be stand-out is of no concern. All the same content is still there, now just in an equal-sized, equal-recognition box.
WHERE TO FIND US
MODULAR BOX LOCATIONS ON CAMPUS
Beatty Towers Bus Stop
Rawlings Bus Stop
Reitz Union Bus Stop
Stadium/Gator Dining corner (Gale Lemerand + Museum)
NEW BOX LOCATIONS AROUND TOWN!
The Jones Eastside on N. Main + NE 23rd Ave
Corner of N. Main + NW 1st Ave (Near The Atlantic)
Bo Diddley Plaza on University
The Midnight on S. Main
Citizens Co-op on S. Main
Maude’s at Downtown
The Jones B-Side on 2nd Ave
Gator Bev on University
Bagels & Noodles on University
The Swamp on University
Target Copy on University
El Indio on 13th St
Starbucks/Urban Thread Plaza on 13th St + 16th Ave
Coffee Culture on 13th St
Mochi on Archer Road
BUSINESSES WE LIKE TO SHOW SOME LOVE
Hyde & Zeke’s
8th Ave. Bikes & More