Georgia State papers disappear after coverage of hazing allegations

GEORGIA — Closeto 250 copies of a student newspaper at Georgia State University were dumpedlast week after the paper published a series of stories regarding allegedsorority hazing.

Chris Shattuck, TheSignal news editor, said he found a large rack completely empty when hewent to restock the papers in a high-traffic classroom building March 13. Amaintenance worker told him a group of girls had just come through and thrownthe papers into a nearby recycling bin.

The SignalEditor-in-Chief Miranda Sain said the paper did not file a police reportbecause they were unsure if it was even a crime.

Some GSU students claimed stealing the newspapers wasacceptable because part of the printing comes from their student fees. In aneditorial Sain published Tuesday, she explained that throwing out that many papers “represents a form ofcensorship.”

“Undoubtedly, students should be able to throw away theirown personal copy of the newspaper if they read something they do not agreewith,” Sain wrote. “However, by throwing away 249 other newspapers, you arethrowing out 249 other students’ newspapers.”

Frank LoMonte, Student Press Law Center executive director,said things can certainly be stolen even though they’re free.

“The fact that there’s not a price tag on the newspaper,”LoMonte said, “does not mean you can take hundreds without consequences.”

The papers have value whether or not they cost money toacquire, he said.

GSU spokeswoman Andrea Jones said the university can’tinvestigate or take other action until a complaint is filed. For now, she said,the university can’t even be sure the event occurred.

The 36-page March 13 issue of The Signal featured a story about a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority complaining anonymously to thedean of students that the sorority engages in hazing rituals.

Lucille Ausborn, GSU Greek life coordinator, did not respondby press time. The Signal story saidZTA Chapter President Megan Lane declined to comment while GSU’s hazinginvestigation into the chapter is ongoing.

The Signal is aweekly newspaper with a circulation between 5,000 and 6,000.

No one has claimed responsibility for the discarded papers.