1,900 copies of Iowa State Daily thrown in trash, police investigating incident
IOWA — The adviser and staff for the Iowa State Daily discovered Wednesday that several stacks of that day’s newspaper had been thrown in the trash.
Stephen Koenigsfeld, editor-in-chief, and Mark Witherspoon, adviser, found 1,900 copies of Wednesday’s issue thrown in trash cans across Iowa State University’s campus, which amounts to $3,000 lost in advertising and approximately $1,100 in printing costs, Witherspoon said.
In an editorial published Thursday, the Daily’s editorial board called the actions of those responsible for throwing out the newspapers an act of crime and censorship, and that by doing so they denied readers their rights to educate themselves.
“By throwing away the Iowa State Daily newspapers, those people took away a platform for students to better themselves as members of the ISU community and made a decision for students on what they could and could not read,” according to the editorial. “Newspapers serve as a huge benefit to the members of a community. Whether one agrees with the content in the publication or not, a newspaper has information the public needs, wants and deserves to know about.”
Koenigsfeld was first made aware of the issue after an editor sent him a screenshot of a social media post that morning, which stated that a woman took a stack of newspapers from the library and threw them in the trash. Koenigsfeld said his first thought was that someone on campus was just being immature.
Another editor later informed Koenigsfeld that he watched people throwing out several stacks in the student union. A police report has been filed, and Koenigsfeld said the police are currently investigating the incident.
Koenigsfeld and Witherspoon did not want to speculate on the motive or reason someone would throw copies of the newspaper in the trash, but Witherspoon believes an article about Greek life in Wednesday’s edition may have been a factor. In the article, three Greek chapters were placed under interim suspension after an incident that involved “medical and police response.”
“We have our suspicions, but we haven’t confirmed anything yet,” Witherspoon said.
This isn’t the first time that a student publication at ISU has been thrown out. In 2013, almost every copy of the magazine Ethos was thrown out because people were not happy with an article about an ISU basketball player who was charged with sexual assault, Witherspoon said.
Contact SPLC staff writer Michael Bragg by email or at (703) 807-1904 ext. 119.
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Each year dozens of student newspapers and other publications across the country fall victim to thieves whose intent is to prevent the dissemination of news, information and opinion with which they disagree.
Here is where newspaper thefts occur: