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Newspapers Removed from Infinite Corridor

By Reuven M. Lerner
News Editor

Approximately 1,000 copies of yesterday's issue of The Tech were discovered in a trash bin between Buildings 4 and 12 yesterday morning. The newspapers, which had been taken from Lobbies 7 and 8 nearly two hours before, were retrieved by members of the newspaper's staff.

The trash bin also contained a large number of issues from Friday, when a large number of copies had also disappeared.

Douglas D. Keller '93, photography editor of The Tech, reported the incident to Campus Police soon after finding the newspapers at about 10:30 a.m. yesterday. Keller, along with three other members of The Tech's staff, spent nearly one hour recovering the newspapers from the trash bin. Most were in good condition, and were returned to the newsstands in Lobbies 7 and 8 before noon.

Phillip J. Walsh, director of the Campus Activities Complex, said he would try to help the newspaper as much as possible, and expressed his disappointment with those who had thrown out the newspapers.

Ted E. Johnson, assistant director for programs in the Campus Activities Complex, echoed Walsh's comments, saying that the CAC had asked custodians to look for large piles of newspapers in trash bins.

No suspects yet

While there was no evidence linking any group or individuals to the theft, Tech staffers originally felt that members of the Alternative News Collective, which publishes The Thistle, were the most likely suspects.

In a message on Discuss, a public electronic forum on Athena, Tech chairman Josh Hartmann '93 said, "Unfortunately, I can think of only one group to suspect: Both Friday's and today's issues had lead stories referencing The Thistle. Those were the two issues trashed."

Thistle staff members denied the charge, saying that their publication had been thrown out many times in the past, including the issue that was published last week. Members of the collective have complained to the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs, but no one has been caught or charged with the theft.

"I think it's horrible that your issues were thrown out," said Sam Grant K. Emison G, a member of the collective, last night. Besides, he said, "I don't think that anyone in The Thistle was really upset at all about the issues in question."

Hartmann responded by saying, "If you say you didn't do it, I believe you."

Robert C. Plotkin '93 and Scott A. Velazquez '93, mentioned in yesterday's lead story [" `Ad Hoc Committee' Protests Fraternity Rushing System"], also denied responsibility for the thefts. "We don't even know anything about it," Plotkin said. "My guess was that it was the same people who throw out The Thistle, whoever that might be."

Tech staffers said that another possible culprit might be Physical Plant, whose workers regularly throw out newspapers and other publications on the newsstands in Lobbies 7 and 8. Johnson and Walsh said they considered this unlikely, however, since Physical Plant workers generally leave issues on the newsstands for several days.

Paul Joseph Pino Jr., a route supervisor for the Building Services division of Physical Plant, said that his workers had instructions not to throw out copies of The Tech for several days after it was published. "Physical Plant wouldn't throw it out -- that's for sure," he said.

However, Bill Jackson '93, opinion editor of The Tech, saw a Physical Plant worker moving copies of yesterday's Tech, as well as the latest issue of Counterpoint, underneath the newsstands. Newspapers are generally moved underneath the stands before they are thrown out. After speaking with the worker, Jackson said, the issues were moved back to the top shelf.

Tech staff members also thought that Physical Plant was an unlikely suspect because the newspapers were interleaved with other trash, apparently because they were carried by hand in a number of shifts, perhaps by a number of people, rather than in the large bags that Physical Plant uses.

Many Thistles thrown out

Emison, a member of The Thistle, said the left-wing biweekly had been thrown out many times in the past, often when its issues dealt with controversial topics.

"In the spring, we were having some real problems with this," he said. "I really thought that a lot of it had to do with Building Services throwing stuff away."

Physical Plant assured the ANC that Physical Plant workers were not throwing the newspapers out, Emison said.

"By the end of the time that we were wrangling about it, they weren't" throwing out the newspapers, he said. "I just think that there were differences in modes of operation by different workers on different shifts in different buildings."

One solution that The Thistle has tried, with varied success, has been to distribute over the course of a number of days, and in a large number of places. Thus, Emison said, "At no time can we be hit with a knockout blow by people throwing away the papers."

In contrast with yesterday's issue of The Tech, which disappeared between 9 and 10 a.m., most copies of The Thistle have been thrown out at night. For this reason, The Thistle, which receives deliveries from its printer at midnight, has begun to distribute at 6 a.m., rather than immediately upon delivery.