Vandal ‘terminates’ editorial cartoon in Calif. college paper

A vandal cut out a cartoon on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s viewsof gay marriage from more than 300 copies of The Campus, a studentnewspaper at the College of the Sequoias, and returned the papers todistribution racks around campus the same day.

The cartoon, which waspublished on page two, depicted the California governor saying “Marriage shouldbe between a man, his woman, and whoever he happens to grope.” “Governor Arnoldvoices his opinions about gay marriage,” was written under the cartoon.

Areporter discovered the problem March 12 when she picked up a copy of the paperfrom a distribution rack on campus. She noticed that the front page had a holein it and part of the newspaper’s nameplate had been cut away, said SuzanneYada, editor of The Campus.

“When they cut out the cartoon, theycut out the top part of the front page, and they also cut off half of thename The Campus,” Yada said. “They physically wrote in the rest of thename that they cut out.”

Yada said she is not sure who cut the cartoonout of the paper, but suspects it was someone “who was pro-Arnold or somebodyoffended by the reference to gay marriage.”

“The editorial cartoon reallywasn’t that offensive in my eyes,” Yada said. “It was not anything over andbeyond what we usually do.”

Yada said she reported the incident to thecampus police at the Visalia college, but was told that because the newspaper isfree, there is nothing the police can do.

“At first when we tried to file[a report], they wouldn’t even write it down,” Yada said. “We had to go back tothem like three times.”

Yada said the campus police reasoned that becauseit is a free newspaper, “somebody can say ‘I own 300 copies’ and do whateverthey want with them.”

The city of Berkeley, Calif., however, charged aman in 2002 with petty theft for discarding more than 1,000 copies of TheDaily Californian, a free student newspaper at the University of Californiaat Berkeley. The man, currently the mayor of Berkeley, pleaded guilty and paid$500 in restitution to the newspaper.

Yada said she is not sure what todo next. She said the school’s chief of police, Nick Martinez, said the incidentreport is on file, but there are no leads or suspects. Yada said the police toldher only the college’s student disciplinary office could take action and itcould do so only if the perpetrator is a student.

Martinez did notrespond to requests for comment.