The controversial cover story on the final winter term issue of “The Clackamas Print” may have been the reason hundreds of newspapers were stolen from the Oregon City campus of Clackamas Community College.
On Wednesday, March 9, the newspapers were distributed to the stands in each building on campus. By Friday morning, Melissa Jones, journalism adviser, noticed that many of the bins were empty, including some in Randall, Streeter, Niemeyer and the Community Center.
“I might have not noticed that, except they were also missing from outside of our offi ce here at Roger Rook and in my time working here, that has never been emptied in nine years. And this was two days after we put them out,” said Jones, “At least 200-300 issues were picked up.”
No suspects have come forward in regards to the theft. Campus Safety Offi cer Edward Markell confi rmed that there are no security cameras in the buildings where newspapers were stolen.
Members of the newspaper staff believe that the papers were probably stolen by someone who didn’t like the cover story.
The March cover story reads, “See you after class? College blows it on staff , student relationships.” In the article, former sports editor Katie Archer revealed that the college has no policy against staff and student relationships. Her story focused on the relationship of former cross country distance coach Drew Wasmund and Kennedy Rufener, a student athlete. After the season, Wasmund’s yearly contract was not renewed.
Co Editor-in-Chief for “The Clackamas Print,” Andrew Koczian, maintains that the article was handled appropriately.
“We didn’t cover it in a way that bashed on anyone,” Koczian said. “That was never the intention. We just asked a question, ‘Was this fair and how does the school handle this policy?’”
Stealing newspapers is a crime. Even though “The Clackamas Print” is a free publication, the theft cost the paper more than $200 in printing costs.
The consequences for stealing papers range from campus disciplinary action to criminal charges. However, editors of “The Clackamas Print” would simply like to talk to the person who stole the papers.
Koczian said, “It makes me feel disrespected and, quite frankly, a little upset because we put a lot of hard work into this.”
These crimes that suppress objectionable information are considered by the Student Press Law Center to be a form of censorship.
Jones suggested that the topic of the controversial cover story is one that staff and students should be talking about.
She concluded, “It’s a great story. Even though the newspapers were stolen, the story still exists online. You can take the physical product, but you can’t really remove the story from the world. It’s out there. You can remove the newspapers that the story was printed on, but the issue still remains.”
The Student Press Law Center has documented cases of college newspaper thefts across the nation and calls it, “a serious and threatening trend.”
Mt. Hood Community College was struck on April 1, when school offi cials took 600 copies of their student newspaper, “The Advocate,” from distribution bins, according to the newspaper’s website.
Read the March 9 cover story, “Vague relationship policy at Clackamas raises questions,” online at TheClackamasPrint.com.