ILLINOIS — Elmhurst College’s campus security is investigating the theft of more than 800 copies of the student newspaper after staff members found stacks of Tuesday’s edition dumped into trash cans and compost bins across campus.
Staff members and the adviser of The Leader, the student newspaper, noticed the copies of Tuesday’s edition were gone by 11 a.m., said Zachary Bishop, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, likely in an effort to censor a front-page article about a sorority’s national headquarters investigating an alleged hazing incident at the Phi Mu sorority on campus.
“I cannot believe people thought they were justified in stealing our newspapers just because they didn’t like an article we reported,” Bishop said in a news release.
Bishop said 1,500 papers were printed and papers were taken from stands near the library, student center, technology building and academic buildings. The estimated cost of the theft exceeds $1,000.
Some Elmhurst College students saw members of the Phi Mu sorority throwing away stacks of papers, according to the release. Staff members looked for the newspapers and found hundreds thrown in campus trash bins.
The staff reported the incident to campus security, and the newspaper’s adviser, Ron Wiginton, said a security officer was going to look at security camera footage.
“If they stole the newspaper wearing their sorority shirt in front of a camera, they weren’t trying to be subtle,” said Wiginton. “I want them to understand the gravity of what they’ve done.”
Wiginton said Elizabeth Doyle, director of fraternities and sororities, sent him an email on Tuesday to apologize for “any stress” the theft caused The Leader’s staff. She called the Phi Mu president to say it was a serious situation and asked involved members to return the papers to the stands immediately, according to Doyle’s email.
Doyle and Assistant Director of Campus Security Caroline Krause did not respond to telephone calls or emails requesting an interview.
SPLC staff writer Anna Schiffbauer can be reached by email or at (703) 807-1904 ext. 127.