The Gatepost Editorial: Newspaper theft is a crime

There’s no greater feeling of accomplishment we editors at The Gatepost have than when we see copies of our latest issue being picked up from the newspaper bins dotted across campus by members of the Framingham State University community.

After all, the main purpose of creating and publishing The Gatepost week to week is to, hopefully, inform and entertain those who read it.

We produce 24 issues every year. To be honest, some issues are better than others. To be even more honest, while we have a dedicated following here on campus, The Gatepost has never quite had a readership so large or an issue so universally popular that we could not keep up with demand.

Enter the curious case of our March 4, 2016 edition.

The day before spring break, our multiple newspaper bins were nearly filled to their brims.

Strangely, after returning from spring break, only eight copies of the current issue remained in one of the bins – most likely because they were buried under older issues. To make matters worse, no other copies of the current issue remained in many of the other bins.

Dwight Hall, Hemenway Hall, the Whittemore Library and the second and third floors of the McCarthy Center housed the newspaper bins that were ransacked during a week where no students were on campus.

We know these bins were raided because, over the years, The Gatepost staff has developed a method to detect theft. This method was created in response to similar incidents that have occurred over the years.

The common denominator here is these are all public buildings on campus which were not locked over break.

Suspiciously, none of the bins in residence halls or Sandella’s appeared to be targeted. Perhaps this was due to the fact these buildings were inaccessible to the public during spring break.

Upon discovering approximately 25 percent of our March 4th print run had apparently vanished into thin air, Editor-In-Chief Michael B. Murphy and Advisor to The Gatepost Desmond McCarthy notified University Police.

We at The Gatepost express our sincere gratitude to Sergeant Joseph Woollard and Officer Sergio Costa for their patience and professionalism in their response and subsequent investigation.

While University Police did not have enough evidence to come to a definite conclusion, one of the investigating officers told editors at The Gatepost that as of now, they “assume the issues were stolen.”

In fact, the same investigating officer has asked the Editor-In-Chief to calculate the cost of the missing issues so this incident can be included in FSU’s submission to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports.

This is a nationwide program “of nearly 18,000 city, university and college, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies voluntarily reporting data on crimes brought to their attention,” according to the FBI’s website.

Sadly, college newspaper theft is more common than many would think.

In 2012 alone, there were over 20 cases of student newspaper theft reported across the country, according to the Student Press Law Center.

It’s important to note the theft of our newspapers is indeed a crime.

If any member of the FSU community takes umbrage with anything published in our paper, they are more than welcome to submit a Letter to the Editor voicing their opinions and concerns. They can also privately email their concerns to our editorial board by contacting us at gatepost@framingham.edu.

Finally, if anyone has information regarding the theft of our paper, we ask they please contact University Police or the Editor-In-Chief of The Gatepost.

The contents of the Hemenway Hall Gatepost newspaper  bin mysteriously vanished over spring break.  Photo by Brad Leuchte)
The contents of the Hemenway Hall Gatepost newspaper
bin mysteriously vanished over spring break. Photo by Brad Leuchte)

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