An unnamed employee of Vanderbilt University was caught on camera taking dozens of copies of the local LGBT paper and throwing them in the garbage.
Police say the woman—described as a “longtime” lab manager—was filmed on security cameras (right) removing dozens of editions of Out & About, a monthly aimed at Music City’s gay and lesbian community, and tossing them into the recycling bin.
The situation has been going on for a year, resulting in the loss of hundreds of copies of O&A.
“Vanderbilt is such an inclusive and supportive environment for its GLBT community, employees, students and patients, that we’re surprised such a hate filled action would take place there,” said O&A publisher Jerry Jones, who thanked campus police and the district attorney’s office for their help.
While the perpetrator admitted to chucking the papers, it’s also not clear if she will be disciplined by the school: “The matter is under internal review to determine if there is any need for further action by Vanderbilt,” said a spokesperson for the university. We recognize that this is a particularly sensitive issue and want to assure our campus is a safe and welcoming environment.”
We’d think a college would want to make an example out of someone who sought to stifle the First Amendment. But what do we know?
Perhaps the paper should sue her to recoup the cost of producing all those wasted copies.
The newspaper should sue the university, for both the cost of producing all of those copies, and for the other income that could have resulted if those copies had been properly distributed, and for the civil rights violation. A library employee acts as an agent of the university in matters relating to storage and distribution of printed matter.
Most universities have clear policies about employees who do things that result in the university being sued. Those policies usually result in some sort of reprimand, and sometimes in termination.
@Steve: She was a lab employee – where do you get library??
“”While the perpetrator admitted to chucking the papers, it’s also not clear if she will be disciplined by the school: “The matter is under internal review to determine if there is any need for further action by Vanderbilt,” said a spokesperson for the university.”
Sensitive hell…..how much did advertisers pay to be in that paper only to have large numbers thrown out? The university needs to get it’s head out of it’s ass, at a MINIMUM this is a case where the paper and it’s advertisers are owed monetary damages.
Mr. Hindle- President- Vandebilt University
It was distressing to read that a faculty member at your University has been routinely throwing away copies of “Out and About” magazine.
While from all accounts, it appears that the University has been supportive and cooperative, I would still like to ask that you intercede in this matter. College is supposed to be a place of open expression and a time for young adults to learn to open their minds to the outside world and to be tolerant towards differing ideas and opinions. The social intolerance of a particular staff member, while she is entitled to her own personal opinion, has no place in higher education. I would just hope that the Senior Faculty at Vanderbilt recognizes that fact. I would further ask that this situation be dealt with in exactly the same way as it would if the faculty member was found to be destroying “Asian Monthly” because of a personal opinion towards that segment of the student population, and similarly, the same way as it would if the faculty member was found to be destroying “African American Monthly” because of a personal opinion towards that segment of the student population.
Sorry–should be addressed to Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos
The papers are put out as free, so anybody can grab as many as they want. It’s the risk of having magazines in free publication racks. While the act was repugnant, I wonder what can really be done about it, except internally.
Vanderbilt is no stranger to homophobia:
Jerry Jones works for Vanderbilt and just wants to keep his job. But he can’t seriously be “surprised”…
@PTBoat: Wrong! If you read the fine print of the ownership statement you’ll see that each reader is permitted ONE copy. And theives are permitted no copies. This is standard boilerplate that every free publication knows to include so they have legal standing in situations just like this.
This was theft. The newspaper should demand that the DA file a criminal charge of theft. If they don’t then the newspaper should civilly sue the thief. AND sue the the school, the campus police, the city police, the sheriff’s department, and the District Attorney for not doing their job. If they loose, then appeal. And appeal. And appeal again. Eventually the Audit Bureau of Circulations will have to step in (especially if it reaches the state supreme court level) and put their lawyers on it, because this situation threatens every one of their members.
@Olive Austin: There’s a specific statute in CA against taking more than 25 free newspapers; CO has a similar statute, but is considering removing it. Let’s see how far the prosecution would get, in TN, with this woman and with all of the other people who take more than one copy of a free publication, whether to throw it away or to sleep on it, pack with it, or line the bird cage.
@PTBoat: I nearly forgot, JoeMyGod is reporting that the newspaper is going to charge .50, on the campus, in order to be able to prosecute in the future.
During my college years, it was not unusual for piles of newspapers from every student group to be thrown away as they’re was always a large portion of each printed run that went unread & untouched. So, I don’t think that one could prove damage$, since you probably couldn’t prove that they would be read in the first place.
I refuse to believe that I typed “they’re” instead of “there” in last post, so I am blaming it on the phone.
How’s this for an idea? (You tell me–I’m undecided.)
The distributors of Out & About should attach a little tube to their newspaper racks with a slot to drop coins and display a sign saying “One issue free, additional copies 5 cents each.”
That way anyone who takes multiple copies is actually guilty of stealing items with a declared value and could be prosecuted.
Happens in Winnipeg Canada all the time….
Apparently I had a pretty good idea (#14), because I just read (on the Advocate site) that Out & About’s posted cost is first copy free, additional copies 50 cents each.
So we’ll see where that gets us.
They are surprised? Darling, women are the biggest homophobes around. It does not surprise me in the slightest that the culprit was a woman.
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