WISCONSIN — Despite their close proximity, campus officialsreacted dramatically differently to student newspaper thefts thatoccurred at two University of Wisconsin campuses — Stout andOshkosh — in the past month.
Student editors at the Stout campus are frustrated by administrators’refusals to investigate newspaper thefts on their campus and estimatethey have lost $6,000 in printing costs and lost advertising revenuebecause of two recent thefts.
Corey Klein, editor of The Stoutonia, said studentsstole about 500 copies of the April Fool’s issue because of aphoto of a gymnast on the back page that was digitally alteredto increase the size of her behind. Klein said several studentsparticipated in the theft, but only one admitted to doing so –after a Stoutonia employee witnessed her stealing the papers.
Campus police have refused to take action, Klein said. Theissue of the paper published following the theft contained anadditional four pages detailing the April Fool’s theft and anotherin February and described the lack of action by authorities. Theissue also contained an editorial asking for apologies from thoseresponsible for the thefts and requesting that the universitycreate a policy to prevent further ones.
Klein called the additional pages and the editorial "alast ditch effort to bring about change" at the university.
Two hundred miles southeast at the Oshkosh campus, administratorshave condemned those responsible for a recent theft, with theChancellor suggesting expulsion as punishment.
According to Amy Holschbach, editor of The Advance-Titan,both university police and the dean of students are conductingseparate investigations into the theft of at least 2,000 copiesof the March 14 issue.
Editors suspect that an article about underage drinking ata sorority party prompted sorority members to steal the papers,but neither investigation has reached a conclusion.
"We’re surprised that students went to this extent,"Holschbach said, adding that she hopes in the future studentsupset by the paper’s coverage will not resort to theft.
Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells issued a statement to thecampus following the theft defending the newspaper’s right topublish and promising that action will be taken against the thieves.
"This assault on our most cherished freedom is an assaultagainst the very life force that creates and sustains a universitylike ours," part of the statement read.
Universityof Wisconsin police refuse to investigate theft of 2,000 studentpapers (2/28/01)