VCU police investigating reports of stolen student newspapers

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RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — VCU police are investigating a report of stolen student newspapers on campus after an article cited harassment within student government.

A Feb. 26 story published in The Commonwealth Times, a student newspaper, says papers were stolen from multiple kiosks; citing apparent witnesses including the article’s writer, Hannah Eason, the paper’s news editor.

“I actually saw them run-up to the kiosk and grab all of our newspapers,” Eason told 8News.

“…so at that point, I went up to them, I was like ‘you know you can’t take those. They’re not yours. It’s one-per-person, after that you have to pay for them.”

Hannah Eason, news editor for The Commonwealth Times

Eason said papers were reportedly taken from around a dozen kiosks and tossed in the trash, amounting to around $1,800 in a financial loss to the paper.

The story alleging the stealing of missing papers included one witness report noting they saw VCU Student Government Association President Breanna Harmon was involved.

Based on the report, Eason said the witness reported “this was all in the Commons (a university building)…” “…All of this was going on. And, just them walking back and forth and, you know, carrying the newspapers. They weren’t trying to hide it or anything. It was pretty blatant.”

8News sent an email to the Student Government Association’s inbox, requesting comment from Harmon, and have not received a response.

A university public affairs official did not say what consequences, if any, might come about.

VCU police said they will continue their investigation.

The Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture at Virginia Commonwealth University released the following statement Friday:

The faculty and staff of the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture at Virginia Commonwealth University wish to express their alarm at an incident this week in which copies of The Commonwealth Times newspaper apparently were removed in bulk from racks in several locations on campus and discarded. Of even greater concern are reports that the removal might have been connected to a critical report in the newspaper about VCU’s Student Government Association.

This allegation raises questions of criminal conduct, and it appears to attack the most fundamental tenet of a free press in American society: Ideas should never be suppressed, and censorship can never be condoned.

Robertson School faculty and staff wish to thank VCU’s Student Affairs Office and the VCU Police for their swift and thorough response to this act of attempted censorship.

In situations such as this, the Robertson School faculty and staff also hope the university community will recall the words of Thomas Jefferson that “the only security of all is in a free press” and unanimously support the journalists of The Commonwealth Times in their quest to seek truth and report it.

The Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture at Virginia Commonwealth University

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