Trashing The Muse

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Someone tried to "undistribute" student paper

A strange thing happened the night of November 26, on the campus of Memorial University.

All copies of The Muse, Memorials student newspaper, got trashed.

Im not talking about a random tossing of a stack of papers into the trash, or across the parking lot. No, this was a planned, premeditated act, with some sort of motivation behind it.

It came to our attention Thursday night that some of our paper stands were empty and nearby garbage cans were filled with newspapers, said Zaren Healey White, copy editor of The Muse. A volunteer informed me and I notified all the Muse staff. At that point, I thought it was an idiotic, but isolated, incident. Some staff members visited all the stands on campus early Friday morning and discovered all the stands to be empty.

At least nine large, double-stands of newspapers were emptied between the University Centre Food Court and bus stop area, and the Science, Arts, Chemistry, Education and Engineering buildings. Thats a pretty good spread, in terms of distance traveled. This was no random act of mischief.

It's hard to tell if all had been thrown out, as garbages may have already been changed, but I suspect that some may be stashed somewhere, said White. Due to the effort involving in stealing all these copies, we suspect it was a planned, organized endeavour likely involving many people. It's pretty clear that someone or some group wanted to try to undistribute the Muse, clearly not liking something covered within. It was a malicious undermining of the hard work of many people, a huge monetary and environmental waste, and a bizarre and illogical attempt to suppress the press. The stands have been replenished, so the scheme was clearly ineffective.

White would not speculate on who would be unhappy enough with The Muse to do such a thing. However, a quick read of the edition in question the one that got trashed is illuminating.

There are two stories in there about the MUN Students Union (MUNSU) that have raised a bit of stink on campus.

The first deals with a controversy that erupted when an anonymous letter revealed that some MUNSU executive were abusing alcohol tabs at the Breezeway Bar, a story that spilled over into mainstream media as well. At a subsequent board meeting, MUNSU voted to change this policy by introducing tighter controls on spending and accountability.

Another story dealt with the need for a whistle blower policy at MUNSU, to protect employees who come forward with information about questionable activity within the organization, such as the bar tab issue which was sparked by an anonymous letter.

Its safe to say that both stories would have made some people within the MUNSU unhappy.

So, with regard to the systematic dumping of The Muse, one doesnt need to look too far to come up with motivated individuals. I think theres a strong likelihood that some faction within MUNSU did the deed.

We may yet find out. White said a complaint has been filed with campus enforcement and it is quite likely that security cameras captured who did the deed.

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  • Greg
    July 27, 2010 - 14:54

    I'd like to propose another scenario for the missing newspapers. Just a guess. Several years ago when I was in university and living in residence, a *cough* friend *cough* of mine and a few buddys cleaned out several newspaper stands around campus (and by several I mean a lot) and used the stolen papers, in crumpled form, to completly fill another friend's room from floor to ceiling, wall to wall - a sea of newspaper balls. Stupid - yes, wasteful - yes, funny - yes, potentially dangerous - yes, an attempt to supress the media - nope. But, it sounds like something more sinister could have occured this time...more likely then bored students pulling a prank.