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Thieves steal 6,000 newspapers at U. Missouri

The staff of the University of Missouri's student newspaper, The Maneater, were dismayed to discover last Tuesday morning that several thousand copies of their paper had been stolen.

Staff members discovered that the papers were missing upon arriving at The Maneater's central office in Brady Commons, which is the paper's main distribution center.

Paul Wilson, editor-in-chief of The Maneater, said the papers were taken from the office sometime early last Tuesday morning.

Students noticed other papers, distributed at various sites around campus, were missing also.

"I believe that the others were taken sometime during the weekend," Wilson said.

The stolen Friday papers contained a controversial article about the disappearance six months ago of a black student leader, Damon White.

The article, based on interviews with White's family members, reported that White -- who was involved in several student organizations and was president of Iota Phi Theta fraternity -- was homosexual and HIV positive.

Wilson said he believes the article's sensitive content contributed to the disappearance of the paper.

He also noted that it was an apparent case of student censorship and said it is disappointing that the student newspaper at of one of the nation's best journalism schools has to confront such problems.

"Censorship sucks on any level," he said.

He added that he has a good idea of who might have been involved, but does not plan to target anyone.

"I'm not going on a witch hunt," Wilson said. "However, I would like to know who it is."

Penn State University, the University of Michigan and 113 other colleges and universities recently participated in a new advertising campaign attempting to curb binge drinking, which appeared in many of the nation's major newspapers.

The ad resembles an advertisement for beer, but is intended to make the public aware of the problem with binge drinking at colleges nationwide.

Penn State University President Graham B. Spanier developed the idea for the ad campaign three years ago.

Spanier "was a voice in the wilderness," said Steve McCarthy, Penn State director of Media Relations.

McCarthy attributed the large numbers of universities participating in the campaign to a growing sense that the problem of binge drinking needs to be addressed.

"College and high-school students don't have an appreciation for the problem," he said. "No one is optimistic that we're going to send a message to college students."

University of Michigan Spokesperson Joel Seguine attributed the drinking problem to collegiate traditions like the University's fourth-year fifth.

"Traditions like that contribute to the problem," Seguine said.

Although the ad is not intended to target college students, it should make the public and parents more aware of the problem, McCarthy said. He also noted that the best way to curb drinking was for parents to influence their adolescent children.

But Seguine said administrators could only offer resources, and it will take an individual effort on the part of the student to end the problem.

"It has to change at the grass roots," he said.