Thieves took more than 8,500 copies of The Daily Utah Chronicle from campus bins at the University of Utah Nov. 10 in what newspaper staff said was a fraternity’s effort to censor a letter to the editor about hazing.
The newspaper staff learned that someone had been caught stealing the papers on a security tape, Editor in Chief Steve Gehrke said.
A security camera recorded one student taking stacks of newspapers. Shortly after leaders of Pi Kappa Alpha were shown the tape, fraternity members came back to the office to apologize, Gehrke said.
Gehrke said he thought the motive was a letter to the editor in which a student had recounted a hazing experience with the fraternity. He estimated that more than 8,500 copies of a total press run of 15,000 were stolen.
“It was a knee-jerk reaction, and before we could stop the bleeding it was done and it was too late,” said Garrett Clark, in an article in The Chronicle. Clark is one of the Pi Kappa Alpha members who apologized for the theft.
Campus police said they are investigating.
“It may not necessarily be a theft in the mind of a prosecutor, but it could be disorderly conduct,” said Mike McPharlin, a detective for the University of Utah Police.
Gehrke said administrators have told him they want to set up a meeting to make sure the newspapers are not stolen again.
“We’re taking the matter seriously. It was very unfortunate,” said Associate Dean of Students Annie Nebeker in The Chronicle.
For more information: Visit the SPLC’s Newspaper Theft Forum at http://www.splc.org/newspapertheft.asp