Campus publications witness hike in end-of-semester thefts

Thousands of student newspapers were stolen from four college campuses just before the end of the spring semester, and although the incidents are unrelated, all four issues contained articles that upset a campus group.

Campus security officials are still investigating three of the four thefts.

On May 22, 7,000 copies of The Highlander, the University of California at Riverside’s student newspaper, were stolen from racks and offices around the campus. Campus police detective Steve Smith said law enforcement officers are following several leads, but most are second- or third-hand information relayed to police.

Although they deny any involvement in the incident, members of a campus fraternity reportedly were upset with an article in that issue that described the arrests of two of their members on drug-related charges.

The Highlander staff distributed 3,000 reprinted copies of the issue several days after the incident.

At West Chester University in Pennsylvania, nearly 5,000 copies of an issue of The Quad that contained an article about possible punishments for students who illegally accessed the school’s online registration Web site were stolen from campus racks May 8 and later found to have been thrown away.

Assistant Dean of Students Nicole McClenic said she was unaware of any suspects in the theft of the newspapers.

About 1,000 copies — out of a 3,000-paper press run — of the student newspaper at Iona College in New York were taken from campus distribution bins on April 26 and later found in the trash.

Ron Minkoff, adviser to the Ionian, and editor Alex Malecki said members of the women’s soccer team threatened to steal copies of the issue before it was published because it contained an article about an alleged sexual assault on one of their teammates. The Ionian spent approximately $2,500 to reprint the issue.

Student Development Director Charles Carlson said the college took disciplinary action against five students who were believed to be responsible for the theft. But Carlson said the college’s policy prohibits him from disclosing the names of the students or the sanctions taken against them.

Also on April 26, an unknown number of copies of Temple University’s Temple News were stolen from campus bins and thrown away. Temple News editors reported the incident to campus police, saying they suspected that an article alleging hazing within a campus fraternity prompted fraternity members to steal the papers.

A report filed with campus police states that the fraternity’s president also threatened the reporter who wrote the article.

James Fitzsimmons, Temple’s associate vice president of student affairs, said an investigation into the incident is ongoing.