TEXAS — Student journalists at Texas Wesleyan University reported about 100 copies of the student newspaper, which included a front-page illustration depicting two people having sex, were likely stolen last week.
Kay Colley, student media director, and Paula Justice, The Rambler’s editor-in-chief, noticed the missing copies of the Oct. 8 edition a week later. Two news stands that carry the newspaper — one in the student union and one in the social and natural sciences building — were found empty Wednesday, and a recycling bin near one of the stands was filled with the Oct. 8 edition, Justice said.
Colley said The Rambler prints 1,500 issues of each edition at a cost of $690.66. The Oct. 8 edition had 14 advertisements valued at $1,489.72.
Colley said the image that accompanied the article shows a man and a woman having sex, “but there was nothing showing.”
Justice wrote the article, titled “Casual sex culture may exacerbate assault,” and included quotes from readers who commented on a post on The Rambler’s Facebook page asking for their take on sexual assault. Justice said the post contained questions on the topic that received mostly negative answers.
“Commentators typically said that ‘this is offensive,’ or ‘this is ignorant’ or ‘I’m embarrassed,’ something to that effect,” she said. “Some of the other comments were a little longer and pretty much expressed that same sentiment.”
Colley filed a complaint with the dean of students and campus safety regarding the theft with hopes to receive restitution for the loss of property and revenue.
After the story was published, Justice said she expected some criticism from readers in light of the responses on Facebook.
“I did not think that reaction would be someone picking entire stacks of papers from multiple locations and trashing them,” she said.
However, after seeing the “furor” over the Facebook post, and especially after receiving an email from a reader who was unhappy with the Oct. 8 front page, Colley said she was not surprised by the response.
“I encourage freedom of speech, and I would hope that everyone on campus does,” she said, “but sometimes that’s not always the case.”
This is the sixth time a collegiate student news organization has reported newspaper theft or vandalism to the Student Press Law Center this academic year. Earlier cases involved The Leader, Iowa State Daily, Pepperdine Graphic, Times-Delphic and The Auburn Plainsman.
Contact SPLC staff writer Michael Bragg by email or at (703) 807-1904 ext. 119.