Newspaper staff requests refund after thefts

ILLINOIS — Editors of a campus newspaper at the University of Chicago said they want to be reimbursed for the cost of replacing stolen newspapers.After about 2,500 copies of the Chicago Weekly disappeared from distribution bins across campus in early May, photo editor Joshua Lucas said he will press the university administration for a permanent policy that would pay the reprinting costs out of general student fees.”We are taking the issue to the student government and the administration to help refund replacement costs,” he said. “We don’t get any financial support from the school and are the second largest paper here.”Lucas expressed confidence that the proposed policy will be accepted.But Bill Michel, director of student activities at the university, said that unless a newspaper thief is caught, refunding a newspaper may be difficult.”If a member of the community is caught stealing papers, we can use existing disciplinary procedures to handle the situation,” he said. “We have been asked to consider a policy, but I’m not sure how strong the possibility of that happening is.”Members of the newspaper staff said they believe friends of one of the student government candidates stole the copies, which was a pre-election endorsement issue.Since nobody was charged, Michel said that instead of looking into an actual refund policy, he will investigate other options.”The first response is to figure out if existing policy will work,” Michel said. “If papers are taken and it can1t be determined who’s taking them, then we will talk with the student group about reimbursement through insurance options.”Laura Fiorilli, publisher of the paper, said the university should start protecting the student publication by paying the $276 it cost to re-print the missing copies.”We wouldn’t have re-printed it if we couldn’t pay for it,” she said. “It’s not going to kill us, but it is an inconvenience. We would like our money back.”