University of Southern Mississippi Police Chief Bob Hopkins said he had no written report and that editors could not say who they spoke to on the day the newspapers were taken, but that he has since been contacted and is beginning an investigation.
Hopkins said he told student editors that while no criminal charges can be filed “because the paper was free,” the police will investigate the theft and turn any student identified over to the school’s dean of students for disciplinary action.
Hopkins said that if those responsible are not students, it will be “difficult” to charge them “being that it is a student paper and it is free.”
Another SPLC press release
reports that Utah’s Weber State University was the site of newspaper theft two weeks ago. Approximately 1,000 copies of the latest issue of The Signpost
student newspaper disappeared from their racks both on and off campus on Friday, October 27. The Signpost
’s editors believe that an article discussing possible sexual misconduct by a professor prompted the theft. In contrast to the University of Southern Mississippi administration, Weber administrators report that the university police department is investigating the theft.
You’ll remember that Will reported on another case of newspaper theft at Stetson University
in mid-October. In that case, about 700 copies of The Reporter
student newspaper were stolen. A member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority confessed to stealing the papers, reportedly because that issue contained an article detailing how the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority house was infested with mold.
And then of course there was the incident at Dartmouth that Chris reported
earlier that involved not theft, but mass burning of The Dartmouth
student newspaper. There, students burned copies of The Dartmouth
because the paper ran a cartoon involving Friedrich Nietzsche that some students found offensive.