3,000 copies of Ala. college newspaper stolen

ALABAMA —- University of South Alabama policeare investigating the theft of almost 3,000 copies of the student newspaperafter they disappeared last week. Editor Jamie Sims said 2,954 copies ofThe Vanguard were stolen from 10 campus distribution points Oct. 27, justhours after the newspaper published a story and editorial about studentgovernment officials using student activity fees to pay for their cell phones.The newspaper’s weekly press run is 8,000.Sims said Friday that shesuspected the newspapers were stolen as a result of the story that ran under theheadline, “Top SGA officers provided cell phones from SGA budget.” The storyreported that student activity fees fund between $120 and $170 for cell phonesusage each month for three top Student Government Association officials.In the Vanguard story, SGA President Clay Hammac defended thecost of the phones, saying they make it possible for students to contact theofficials at all times.SGA Vice President Shannon Langley said she didnot know who stole the newspapers. She said she doubted that anyone in thestudent government was responsible.”It would look too obvious,” Langleysaid. Sims estimated the newspaper lost $2,953 because of the theft.The newspaper prints a disclaimer on every issue notifying readers that thefirst copy is free while each additional copy is $1, Sims said. Simssaid she will encourage university police to file criminal felony chargesagainst whoever is responsible for the theft.”I was most disappointed bythe fact that, once again, it seems that there’s this lack of understanding thatwe are the media,” Sims said. “It’s our job to give balanced news coverage …and in this case, show [students] where their money is going.” Sgt.Dave Sumner, the university police officer investigating the theft, did notrespond to requests for comment. The University of South Alabama is inMobile.