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Thousands of The Daily Campus stolen Friday

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Published: Monday, March 3, 2003

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 17:08

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Brett Mickelson

Thousands of papers turned up in front of the library Friday afternoon.

About 9,000 copies of The Daily Campus were stolen Friday from The Daily Campus Building and several dozen delivery locations on campus.

Employees at the Co-op reported seeing two females removing issues of the newspaper near the front entrance. Witnesses also reported seeing two females taking copies from the South Campus dining hall.

Surveillance tapes from the UConn Co-op clearly show two females at approximately 8:53 a.m. enter the main entrance and remove The Daily Campus, shortly after the copies were delivered.

Newspapers were also reported stolen from various other locations, including academic and administrative buildings, according to Circulation Manager Rob Burnham.

Thousands of copies later turned up in front of the Babbidge Library in plastic garbage bags, accompanied by red paper that read "TBC" in large lettering.

Cars were seen standing idly with their engines running in the parking lot behind Buckley Hall, near The Daily Campus building, at approximately 7:15 a.m., just as the first newspapers were being distributed.

Whether or not delivery employees were followed on their routes had not been determined.

The Daily Campus staff members reported the thefts to the UConn Police Department immediately after it became known the copies had been stolen.

"I'm disappointed in this cowardly attempt to silence the newspaper," said Elizabeth Hathaway, The Daily Campus editor-in-chief.

The newspaper thefts came one day after The Daily Campus ran a controversial column in Thursday's issue. The paper featured a column written by Josh Levinson that argued cultural centers do more to divide than they do to unite students on campus. The opinions expressed in his column infuriated many, as The Daily Campus doubled the size of its Commentary section Friday to accommodate the letters to the editor it received on the subject.

There was also an editorial in Friday's paper explaining the difference between the newspaper's editorial opinion and the opinions of the writers that it employs.

Closing events for Black History Month at the African American Cultural Center (AACC) turned to discussion of Levinson's column and the views he expressed within it.

Dr. Willena Price, director of the AACC, was out of the office Friday and unavailable for comment. Kyle Somerville, student manager, said he was not aware of any student discussion of removing newspapers at the forum held Thursday night.

In a forum held Friday evening, members of the AACC openly denied that they had anything to do with the disappearance of Friday's papers. Students called The Daily Campus racist, and suggested its staff take courses in diversity.

Vicky Triponey, vice chancellor for student affairs, said she did not condone the thefts, and would support pursuing those who stole the newspapers.

"Clearly [The Daily Campus] papers are property of The Daily Campus," Triponey said.

"We would be very interested in bringing them through the university judicial process as well as the criminal system."

UConn Police Maj. Ronald Blicher said the newspaper could file larceny charges against the individuals once they are identified.

"The degree of larceny would be predicated by the value of the papers," Blicher said.

The total cost of production and potential loss of revenue from Friday's press run is estimated at a minimum of $3,573.62, according to Hathaway.

"That is equivalent to 500 students' newspaper fee contributions for the semester," Hathaway said.

She said she plans to file charges with the UConn Police Department and the Dean of Students office.

Ninety-one percent of the newspapers were unaccounted for Friday morning, Hathaway said. Most of the newspapers have since been recovered and were redistributed to key locations on campus Friday evening, including dining and residence halls, according to Managing Editor Maggie Samways.

Several bundles of recovered newspapers were still held together by plastic bindings, which suggests hundreds, if not thousands of newspapers were removed from the loading dock at The Daily Campus.

Four thousand copies of Brown University's student newspaper were stolen in 2001 after it printed the controversial David Horowitz advertisement, which claimed that slave reparations are racist. The Daily Campus also printed the advertisement, but no newspapers were reported stolen.

The Horowitz ad sparked a protest of approximately 60 students outside The Daily Campus Building in April 2001. Ryan Daneault, then-editor-in-chief, defended the newspaper's decision to run the advertisement, arguing it would incite a debate on campus.

Hathaway said she plans to press the university and the police for a full investigation into the matter.

People with information about the thefts are encouraged to contact the UConn Police Department at 486-4800.

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