Three identified in taking of papers at Ohio college

OHIO — Three students at Findlay University in Findlay,Ohio, were seen on campus security cameras taking stacks of issues of ThePulse, the university’s student-run weekly newspaper, campus securityand the newspaper said.Students Kelsey Wesaw, Caitlyn Yoder and SarahFrankart — members of the school’s volleyball team — arealleged to have taken the newspaper in response to an article about anoff-campus fight involving two other members of the team, The Pulse reported in its Oct. 18 issue.

Pulse staffers learned Oct. 5 that the papers had been taken, andthe paper filed a complaint with campus security Oct. 8.

Ken Walerius, director of campus security, confirmed to the Student PressLaw Center that Wesaw, Yoder and Frankart were the individuals recorded removingthe newspapers.

Chris Underation, The Pulse‘sadviser, said about 600copies were taken, costing the newspaper about $100. Underation wrote in lastweek’s edition that the students returned most of the issues to newspaper standsor drop-off areas three to four days after the newspapers’ disappearance.

Wesaw and Yoder had not responded by Thursday morning to e-mail messagessent to their school e-mail accounts on Friday. Frankart sent an e-maildeclining to comment to the SPLC.

Phone messages left with the school’s athletic department and with thevolleyball coach also were not returned.

In the Oct. 18 issue, The Pulse ran a letter to the editor writtenby Wesaw’s and Yoder’s parents apologizing for their daughters’ actions.

“On behalf of our daughters, Kelsey and Caitie, we want to apologize fortheir foolishness when they decided to collect The Pulse last Thursday night(Oct. 4),” the parents wrote. “We, too, were disappointed in their actions andhave spoken to them accordingly.”

But the letter warned the newspaper against claiming the two students”stole” or “illegally took” the newspapers, stating thetwo families wanted to voice their concern if “The Pulse chooses toprint an article in next week’s edition that could possibly maliciouslydefame our daughters’ names.”

In a column printed elsewhere in the same issue, Underation responded thattaking copies of a free newspaper en masse still counted as a theft, citinglegal research compiled on the SPLC’s Web site. But a separate staff editorialstated that the paper would not press charges or pursue the matterfurther.

Underation said two advertisers have agreed to pay the newspaper in fulldespite the loss; another is considering doing so.

“This was a whole surprise to me,” Underation told ThePulse. “We’re not really known as an aggressive, in-your-facesort of publication. When I was first told about this I though it somejoke.”

For More Information:

Read The Pulse‘s Oct. 18 issue

Visit the SPLC Newspaper Theft Forum