Student Newspaper Theft: Thousands of Towerlight Copies Suspected Stolen

A sizable chunk of a recent issue of The Towerlight at Towson University has been reported stolen.  According to a Student Press Law Center report, Towerlight editors estimate up to 3,000 copies of the newspaper’s 10,000-copy run for a mid-February issue were taken from multiple campus racks, most prominently in the university’s student center.

As Towerlight editor in chief Daniel Gross told the SPLC, “What we believe is that it all stems from a particular story [screenshot of print version below] that was printed in that issue regarding some forced resignations within the Housing and Residence Life department.  Some resident assistants were caught drinking with underage RAs and were forced to resign.”

Staffers first became aware something was amiss upon coming across empty racks very early in the issue’s distribution cycle.  Only hours after restocking racks in the student union specifically, they were again found completely empty. While the issue included a special cover feature popular among students, the speed and totality of the papers’ disappearance signaled trouble.

University police are investigating the incident, with hopes that student union surveillance cameras might have captured the thefts and can provide a visual on the suspect(s).

In a staff editorial headlined “Unjustified, Uncalled for and Illegal,” the newspaper confirmed, “If the culprits who stole Towerlights with ‘the intent to prevent other individuals from reading the newspapers’ [a Maryland state crime] are identified, we will press charges to the full extent of the law.”

The editorial also confirmed the suspected theft will do little to silence the published stories: “Stealing newspapers does not alter history and does not change the facts. And although printed newspapers were taken from racks, our website was viewed thousands of times that same day. In fact, it was the site’s most traffic-heavy day since its upgrade in August. Students, university faculty and staff, and community members were still able to discuss the information found in our print edition.”

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