Members of the Rumpus staff are seeking help from University officials after they discovered stocks of the latest issue dumped in recycling bins outside the dining halls of four residential colleges.
The campus tabloid’s staff reported the alleged thefts in Calhoun, Jonathan Edwards, Davenport and Ezra Stiles to Dean for Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg, said Sam Penziner ’07, the co-publisher of Rumpus.
Trachtenberg said the Rumpus’s allegations are serious and break the core University principle promoting free expression. She said similar incidents have happened in the past, most notably when more than 2,000 copies of the Yale Free Press were stolen last year.
“People just take it into their hands to dispose of publications that they don’t like or don’t approve of,” she said. “It’s certainly a major violation of freedom of expression.”
Assistant Dean of Yale College Edgar Letriz said an investigation is currently underway.
“We’ll do whatever we can to find the reason for the publication’s removal, to identify the parties involved, the motivation for said removal, and will pursue whatever disciplinary action might be warranted,” he said.
Penziner said he is scheduled to meet with Letriz today to see what action can be taken. He said he thinks an organized group of students may be responsible for the incidents and Rumpus will file a formal complaint to the Yale College Dean’s Office if the perpetrators are discovered.
“It is possible that a student group is angry at the Rumpus and taking out their anger at us,” Penziner said.
Rumpus co-Editor in Chief Sam Heller ’08 said he has received one piece of hate mail since the latest issue was published, but he said does not believe that is related to the incidents.
Masters and deans at the affected residential colleges said they could not confirm whether the claim of theft is true.
Jonathan Edwards Master Gary Haller said he first heard of the problem in an e-mail a Rumpus staff member sent him on Tuesday.
“I only know of it from a JE staff member of Rumpus, but I have no doubt that allegation is well founded,” he said.
Students had mixed reactions to some of the material published in the Rumpus’s latest issue.
John David ’07 said he did not think this month’s issue was any more controversial than others.
“I don’t think there was anything more explicit than normal that would justify throwing them away,” David said.
But Elizabeth Legris ’09 said she thinks Rumpus — and particularly its latest issue — is tasteless.
“I can fully understand that some students feel the Rumpus reflects badly upon them,” she said. “This issue in particular goes beyond what is necessary for humor and I can see how some may have been offended by it more than by others.”
Karen Burke ’06, a managing editor for the Yale Free Press, said that while the publication’s staff identified suspects linked with last year’s thefts, a lack of evidence prevented them from pursuing legal measures.