Cornell employee removes student newspaper pages ahead of campus tour

NEW YORK — About30 to 40 issues of The Cornell Daily Sunstudent newspaper were stripped of their covers by a Cornell Universityemployee April 20 to prevent prospective students and parents from seeing them.

Daily Sun Editor-in-ChiefJuan Forrer said the April 20 newspaper was the annual April Fools’ edition,dawning a satirical wrap-around cover with fake editorials and fictionalstories about Cornell giving breathalyzer tests to students and receivingresearch money for marijuana. The cover is very clearly a spoof, Forrer said.

Nevertheless, a Cornell employee removed the covers from allof the newspapers in Day Hall before prospective students toured the campus.Forrer said a friend who gives campus tours notified him of the incident.

The April Fools’ edition was printed on April 20 because a formerpresident died over April Fools’ weekend.

“We felt we didn’t want to do our normal joke editioncoverage after that because it wouldn’t be the appropriate thing to do in thatsituation,” Forrer said.

The paper did not file a police report about the theft becausethe damage was “miniscule,” Forrer said.

Cornell spokeswoman Claudia Wheatley said the incident isregrettable.

“Cornell University recognizes that an independent press isa cornerstone freedom in the U.S. and will work to ensure that employeesrecognize that as well,” Wheatley wrote in an emailed statement.

Neither Wheatley nor Forrer identified the employeeresponsible for taking the covers.

Cornell University is a private school, but the Sun is independent and does not receivefunding from the university.

Forrer said the cover theft hasn’t impacted the paper andwas an isolated incident, but the editorial board wrote an editorial concerningthe theft and what it means for press freedom.

“I don’t think Cornell would do something like this againwith a normal issue of the paper,” Forrer said. “We just felt like somethingneeded to be said about it and Cornell shouldn’t be able to do anythingregarding content.”

By Emily Summars, SPLC staff writer