Issue with article on student's rape charge stolen from newsstands

LOUISIANA — Staffers at The Nicholls Worth, NichollsState University’s student newspaper, were shocked Thursday to find thatnearly 90 percent of that week’s edition had been stolen earlier thatmorning, said Stephen Hermann, director of student publications at theuniversity.

Hermann, who has been the newspaper’s adviser for a little more thana week, said the papers were distributed at about 8 a.m. Thursday. At about 1:30p.m., Hermann and the paper’s editors got word from witnesses that severalpeople had been taking bundles of newspapers from stands.

Herman said neither he nor the university knows who took the paper, sayingonly that a number of people were involved.

James Stewart, head of the department of mass communication, said he sawtwo young men carrying bundles of newspapers across campus. Stewart said heconfronted the two, who claimed to be taking the papers to the school’slibrary. When asked who requested the newspapers, Stewart said the twoindividuals could not produce a name.

Stewart said the two eventually admitted to taking the bundles because of afront-page story reporting the arrest and charging of a fraternity member forthe rape of a female student.

Stewart said he ordered the two individuals to return the newspapers, whichhe said they did. He said he did not ask the individuals to identify themselves.

Stewart said he does not know if charges will be filed against whoever tookthe newspapers, saying he was unsure whose responsibility that would be.

“I’m not sure who would file those charges,” Stewartsaid. “We’re looking into the legal precedent.”

Stewart said campus police were not notified of the theft, adding that thematter probably will be dealt with by the school.

“At this point we don’t know what’s going tohappen,” Stewart said. “I think we need to let the universitydisciplinary system run its course.”

A disciplinary commission is set to be held Wednesday to investigate thetheft. Stewart said he has been asked to testify as a witness.

Out of 5,500, copies printed, Hermann estimates fewer than 1,000 made it tonewsstands. Hermann said the total value of the papers taken is about $3,000 inads and student fees.

Renee Piper, director of university relations at Nicholls, said theuniversity plans to investigate the theft thoroughly.

“This is a very serious matter and we plan to get to the bottom of itand hold the people accountable that stole the papers,”

As to what type of disciplinary action the university would take, Pipersaid she was unsure.

Hermann said The Nicholls Worth will not re-run the article theybelieve sparked the theft in next week’s issue but will run a story on thetheft itself.

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