NIU goes national

NIU has finally regained the attention of the national press once again.

Why? LeShon Johnson? The Great Condom Rating Contest? Because we set an example for the rest of the nation with Unity and Diversity? Or NIU or UNI?

The answer is—none of the above. NIU has a new avenue for fame and prestige. An avenue shared by a several other “prestigious” universities.

You see, at NIU if you don’t care much for the campus newspaper, are offended or just plain disagree you do have recourse—just steal them.

A U.S. News and World Report editorial by John Leo focused on the rash of college newspaper thefts across the country and university presidents’ cowardice in remedying the situation.

” … The president’s abdicate responsibility by not noticing the thefts or by saying nothing much at all, as at Florida State, Northern Illinois and two University of Wisconsin campuses …”

Amen. NIU President John La Tourette said “not much at all” rather eloquently in a letter to the editor this summer, which was published again this fall.

The Northern Star has had to take on a vigilante role in the past to protect its distribution. Star employees from advertising to editorial have had to stand guard at early morning hours from would-be thieves so fee-paying students could receive their newspapers in times of turmoil.

NIU students have stolen large quantities of newspapers in the past and threatened to do so on many occasions. There is certainly nothing illegal about protesting, but theft is theft.

The shame is that the solution is so simple, but few university presidents have the backbone to operate on an ethical level as far as campus publications are concerned.

University of Maryland President William Kirwan doesn’t play when it comes to newspaper theft. Duke University President Nan Keohane led the campus judicial board to act on a theft. At Penn State two women were prosecuted and forced to pay $3,000 to a campus publication for restitution.

At NIU we got a letter to the editor that the prez is “concerned” about free speech and that stealing campus newspapers “may” be unprotected conduct.

Perhaps he’ll be more concerned that NIU “may” become a laughingstock in the national media the next time newspapers are stolen as he sits idly by.