Gustavus student newspaper's 'Case Day' story gets papers trashed

MINNESOTA — About 100 copies of a late February issue ofGustavus Adolfus College’s weekly student paper featuring a story about anannual student drinking tradition were found trashed outside the schooladmissions office.

According to Jake Seaman, managing editor for the Gustavian Weekly,the paper reported on “Case Day,” when students at the privatecollege in Saint Peter, Minn., attempt to drink 24 cans of beer in 24 hours. Theissue hit newsstands a day before a large admissions event for potentialscholarship candidates, and the stolen papers were found in a trash bin outsidethe admissions office sometime after that event.

“We heard that it was some students from the admissions office fromhalf a dozen of their friends,” Seaman said. “They denied it wasthem. Mostly I just want them to figure out who did it and deal with it howeverthey would deal with it.”

Newspaper editors reported the theft to school security early this month,within days of the incident, and suspected the issues were thrown out sovisiting potential students would not see the Case Day story.

According to David Kogler, assistant director of admission at Gustavus andGustavian Weekly adviser, issues of the Gustavian Weekly remainedon the stands outside the admissions office throughout the Scholarship Dayevent. When officials were alerted to the trashed newspapers on the followingMonday, Kogler said an admissions official restored the papers to theappropriate rack.

While Kogler said the Case Day article was poorly written, and while somemembers of school administration were upset with the article, the school doesnot support censorship at all and, as far as he knows, none of his colleaguesfrom the admissions office are responsible for throwing out the papers.

“The article was after the fact, it had anonymous quoting, noopposing opinion. There were major problems with the article itself,”Kogler said. “Despite that, it’s their decision to publish what theysee fit and then take the heat afterward.”

As adviser to the Gustavian Weekly, Kogler said his role is strictlyto lend advice, but never to censor editorial content or review the paper beforeit goes to print.

Gustavus Dean of Students Hank Toutain said school officials currently donot have any leads to pursue, but that they take the issue seriously and wouldinvestigate further if they were provided information from someone who knowsabout the theft.

“There is some quibbling as to whether it is theft,” he said.”Nevertheless, because we guarantee to campus media freedom of expressionand say they have the right to distribute on campus, the inappropriate taking[of the papers] would be cause for concern.”

At this point, Seaman said the Gustavian Weekly is not looking topursue criminal charges.

For More Information:

  • SPLC Newspaper Theft Forum