FAU newspapers stolen twice in one week

Disappearance may be linked to a poster critical of the publication

FLORIDA — About 2,600 copies of Florida Atlantic University’s student newspaper were stolen over three days this week after members of the staff removed posters that criticized the paper.

University Press Editor-in-Chief Mariam Aldhahi said the newspaper learned of the posters Monday morning. Aldhahi referred to them as “hate letters.”

The posters heavily criticized the paper’s advertising, depth of reporting, design choices and journalistic integrity.

“The UP is that teenage girl everyone knows with cheap taste,” the letter reads, “who talks about people behind their backs and is so desperate for attention that she’ll get drunk, strip and say absolutely anything, no matter how wrong or asinine, then vomits on your couch and never apologizes.”

The posters were hung above most newspaper bins on campus and on the floor in front of them, Aldhahi said. The posters were covered in tape, presumably to protect from rain.

Staff members removed the posters after receiving permission from Shannon Clouts, the university’s director of space utilization and analysis. Clouts said her office would have removed them if the UP staff did not.

Between noon and 4 p.m. Monday, “over a thousand” copies of the newspaper were stolen, Aldhahi said. The staff looked around in trash bins nearby, but found no trace of the missing papers.

She said another 1,600 copies were stolen Wednesday after a new issue hit stands Tuesday.

UP, a weekly publication, releases 4,100 copies every Tuesday. Aldhahi said there are usually between 500 and 600 copies left in the bins when the next issue is published.

Student Media Director Michael Gaede said he didn’t want to speculate on who the culprit was, or even if the posters and theft were connected. He said both issues were among the most well-done he has seen.

Aldhahi filed a police report with the campus police Monday. She said the staff is working with police to catch who is responsible.

UP staff members began preemptively collecting the remaining papers Wednesday so they could redistribute them later.

These two incidents mark the third and fourth times that UP has had its papers stolen in recent years. Last time, Aldhahi said, the thief was trying to protect a faculty member from scrutiny.

No one has taken responsibility. Aldhahi and Gaede said they intend to press charges if police catch the person responsible.

University police Lt. Larry Ervin said investigators have leads, but there are no suspects. He declined to elaborate.

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