Newspaper thieves face punishment

A student at Ocean County College in New Jersey pleaded guiltyon April 6 to having possession of 1,200 copies of the school’s studentnewspaper, The Viking News.

Allen Rubman was charged with possession of stolen property, a criminaloffense. He pleaded guilty to a lesser municipal offense of recklesslycreating a disturbance and was ordered to pay $50 and court costs.

Karen Bosley, adviser for The Viking News, said the newspaperstaff was disappointed and surprised by the outcome of the proceedings.

“They’re really devastated,” Bosley said. “We expected more from this.”

She said the newspaper plans to pursue compensation through other channels.

“We want to start pursuing the college discipline code,” Bosley said.”Also, we want to publicize the story using [Rubman’s] name.”

Bosley said witnesses saw Rubman with the Nov. 18 edition of the newspaperin the trunk of his car.

The stolen issue contained a commentary about Rubman’s quest to geta thousand hugs from women to win a bet.

In February, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga tookdisciplinary action against two students accused of stealing 2,000 copiesof the student newspaper, according to Jaime Lackey, editor of the Echo. MichaelKnaby and Jim Casey, both UTC wrestlers, were apparently angered by anarticle in the Sept. 9 edition of the Echo that reported the arrestof two other wrestlers for assaulting another man.

Lackey was sports editor at the time of the thefts. She and Nikki Middlebrooks,former news editor, saw the theft in progress and identified Knaby as oneof the thieves to campus security.

Lackey said administrators told her that disciplinary action was takenagainst the two men, but that university policy prohibits the release ofthe details of judicial proceedings.

Lackey said she believes the university handled the theft adequatelybut feels the damage was already done.

“No matter what, they got away with it,” Lackey said. “What they wantedwas for students not to see the story, and they didn’t.”

In New York, a Hofstra University student found responsible bya campus court for trying to remove advertising inserts that containeda Holocaust revisionist essay from 1,500 student newspapers was requiredto write a letter of apology to the newspaper.

After being caught by the university’s public safety office in October,the student realized he could be charged for the papers and tried to reassemblethem.

Shawna Van Ness, editor of The Chronicle, said she was disappointedby the way the university handled the vandalism of the papers.

Van Ness said that in the past, many copies of The Chronicle havebeen destroyed.

“Usually they’re destroyed, and you don’t know who did it,” Van Nesssaid. “This time we had somebody. This was the time to make the statementthat this kind of thing would not be tolerated, and I think [the administration]dropped the ball on that. Having someone write a letter of apology is lettingthem get off scot free with vandalism and infringement on everyone’s FirstAmendment rights.”