NORTH CAROLINA — Several hundred copies of the student newspaper at North Carolina Central University were trashed this semester after the paper published two controversial stories.
Bruce dePyssler, adviser for the Campus Echo, and Editor-in-Chief Ashley Griffin suspect the missing papers are related to two stories the newspaper printed. The first story, “Business school blues,” was published Oct. 6, and reported on controversy happening at the school of business, including the firing of the business dean. The second, “Sociability shortage in sociology,” ran Nov. 3 and documented run-ins involving a sociology professor and two students that led to one student’s suspension.
Griffin said in the first incident, some issues were taken, but several newspaper bins were also moved to hard-to-find places.
“They moved them to a place where students wouldn’t be able to see them as easily and wouldn’t be able to gain access to them,” she said.
The second time, Griffin said a faculty member alerted them to the fact that several copies of the paper were in the recycle bins. Griffin initially thought the copies could have been older issues.
“I went over there personally to go check it out, and it was the brand-new Echo,” she said.
dePyssler and Griffin were unsure who trashed the copies. dePyssler did say he suspected the issue containing the sociology story may have been trashed by those close with the professor.
Police checked surveillance footage, but no cameras point to the areas with the bins where the papers were taken, Griffin said.
In all, around 300 copies of the Echo were trashed, Griffin said. dePyssler said the paper has a circulation of 4,000.
dePyssler and Griffin said they have not had any calls or complaints from advertisers wanting refunds because of the trashed copies. dePyssler said there wasn’t any financial loss associated with the lost copies, because they were able to restock the emptied bins with extra copies they print for every issue.
“We had plenty,” he said.
The Echo wrote an editorial condemning the trashing of the papers last week. Debbie Thomas, associate provost, also sent out an email addressing the issue.
“I cannot improve on editor-in-chief Ashley Griffin’s characterization of such behavior as ‘petty and childish.’ Beyond that, attempts to suppress unpleasant news are offensive and contrary to everything we stand for at our university, where the free exchange of information should not be impeded,” she wrote.