GEORGIA — Staff members of the GuardDawg, a conservative student newspaper at the University of Georgia, discovered 1,200 copies of their paper stolen and their distribution bins vandalized last week.
“We were all shocked,” Publisher David Kirby said. “I’ve heard of stories [like this] happening at other campuses, but we didn’t think this could happen to us here.”
Copies were taken from the bins Thursday night and staff members found seven out of the eight distribution bins empty the next day, Kirby said. The bins were also vandalized with the words “communist,” “gay” and “homo.”
The GuardDawg filed a report with the university’s police department, which listed the case as criminal trespassing.
University of Georgia Police Department Captain Lisa Boone said the case is under investigation, with no updates so far. While staff members reported the vandalism to the boxes, no one could confirm if an actual theft occurred because of a lack of evidence, Boone said.
“It’s an issue with newspapers sometimes, there’s no one saying that someone can’t have all of them, or if people are just taking them just to be taking them,” Boone said.
Kirby said he and other staff members believe the paper was targeted because of its conservative slant. He said he assumed the acts of vandalism was committed by a “liberal” or someone who disagreed with the content of the paper.
Plans to reprint the newspaper are under way. The paper featured articles about free speech on campus and a story commemorating the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“I think that this event strengthened our resolve that it’s important that we spread our values,” Kirby said.
Meanwhile, Kirby and other staff members are also looking into who might have committed the vandalism. He said they are scouring Myspace.com and Facebook.com for students who might be bragging about the incident. They are also looking into legal options if they can find out who is responsible for the vandalism and theft, he said.