Chapman University investigates newspaper theft

CALIFORNIA — Chapman University is investigating the theft of about 2,200 copies ofthe student newspaper The Panther.

The papers were taken Monday morning from the back of a campus building,where the printer drops them off, before newspaper staff could distributethem.

Mary Platt, director of communications and media relations at Chapman, saiduniversity officials were “appalled” by the theft.

“Whether it was meant as a prank or was actually planned to interrupt orintercept some story that was in the paper, it’s still an offense against freespeech,” she said.

Editor-in-Chief Amber Gonzales told The Orange CountyRegister she did not know why the papers had been taken.

“It feels really random,” she said. “I can’t think of anythingcontroversial.”

Platt said the university is conducting an investigation of the theft andwill punish whoever took the papers, if he or she is discovered to be a student.Otherwise, the local police will handle the matter.

She said the theft had not prevented the paper from being read, as itscontents are posted online.

“That doesn’t ameliorate the fact that they’re going to be losing hundredsif not thousands of readers this week because of the disappearance of the hardcopy,” Platt said.

At least one other newspaper theft occurred at Chapman three or four yearsago, Platt said. She is concerned people who want to steal the newspaper areaided by the unsecured storage behind a main campus building beforedistribution.

“I’m going to advise that (Panther staff members) rethink thatprocedure,” she said.