When one typically thinks of the word theft, images of missing money or stolen jewelry come to mind. Well it’s time to add newspapers to that list.
Nearly all 3,000 copies of the Nov. 1 issue of The Famuan were stolen shortly after their delivery to the first floor of Tucker Hall.
The issue was dropped off approximately between the times of 9 – 9:30 a.m. according to Valerie McEachin, advertising manager for The Famuan.
After a report from a student stating that she’d seen the issues of The Famuan on the first floor of Tucker Hall around 10 a.m., all of the papers mysteriously disappeared.
Later that same day, adviser to The Famuan, Valerie White was contacted by phone by an anonymous woman, stating that she overheard who was responsible for the thefts.
However, the anonymous young woman refused to disclose the name or names of the thieves.
The incident was subsequently reported to FAMU Law Enforcement Department officer Derrick Folson and is currently under investigation.
However, it was determined by law enforcement that the anonymous call to White originated from the Foster Tanner Art Building on campus.
It is believed that the papers may have been stolen in response to a negative reference made to a particular band member.
The reaction of The Famuan staff to the theft was one of disappointment and anger. When Danielle Wright, editor-in-chief of The Famuan, first got word of the theft, she thought it might have been a joke.
However, when she realized the papers had in fact been stolen, she felt anger.
‘I’m angry that the thief didn’t realize all the hard work that went into the paper,” said Wright.
Wright said she views the theft of the The Famuan as an attack on First Amendment rights. “Prank or not, these people (those responsible for stealing the paper) need to understand that they’ve committed a crime.
Each issue of The Famuan costs an estimated $600-$800 to print. With that figure being doubled due to the need for a reprint of the issue, the theft of The Famuan amounts to felony charge of grand theft.
While the stealing of newspapers to censor or suppress free speech is no new occurrence, this marks the third incident this year in which a campus newspaper has been stolen. Both the University of California at Berkeley and University of South Maine have had issues of their newspapers stolen as well.