Entire stacks of Tuesday’s edition of the Daily Skiff were taken from several campus buildings and disposed of in trash cans and recycling bins around campus.
Student publications director Robert Bohler said at least 1,361 issues were recovered from Reed Hall, Sadler Hall, Smith Entrepreneurs Hall, Tandy Hall, Tucker Technology Center, Moudy Building South, Moudy Building North and the Mary Couts Burnett Library, and were put back by Skiff staff members out of a press run of 6,000 copies.
“Usually when papers go missing it is because of a controversial issue,” Bohler said. “When they wind up in trash bins it’s because someone doesn’t want the public to read about that issue.”
Bohler declined to comment specifically on who he thought stole the newspapers.
Don Mills, vice chancellor for student affairs, said the campus police are conducting interviews, looking through security tapes and doing investigations to determine who is responsible.
At this point the university is making the assumption that someone deliberately destroyed the newspapers, and in that case it could be a criminal investigation, Mills said.
“But of course we’ll let the facts take this where they take this,” Mills said.
Mills said the Skiff will not have access to the security tapes because they might become part of a criminal investigation.
“The university thinks it is never appropriate for a person or people to dispose of newspapers for whatever reason,” Mills said.
The newspapers are free for the first copy and any additional copies are 50 cents each, a message published in each day’s Skiff. It’s a misconception when people think that because they don’t have to pay for the first copy the newspapers are free, Bohler said.
“They don’t have the right to take newspapers in bulk and destroy them so that other students can’t read them,” Bohler said.
The problem with the newspaper theft is that not only are students unable to read them, but the Skiff has advertisers that pay to put advertisements in the newspaper, Bohler said.
“It’s a potential theft of service,” Bohler said. “It puts a crimp in our ability to deliver services to the advertiser.”
The advertisers pay for space to be exposed to 6,000 readers a day, and however many newspapers are intentionally disposed are that many readers that the newspaper can’t reach, Bohler said.
Kerry Crump, advertising manager for the Skiff and a senior strategic communication major, said the advertisers are paying to reach a certain number of people per issue, and when newspapers are stolen they’re not getting what they paid for.
News editor David Hall and staff reporters Chelsea Smith, Michael Carroll and Travis Brown contributed to this report.