Security cameras catch students taking hundreds of papers

Photo courtesy of Georgia State Police Department Three unidentified individuals walk off with large amount of Signal copies.

For the second time this year a large number of newspapers were taken from The Signal stands.

At 2:47 p.m. on Oct. 30, only hours after the newspapers hit the stands, three unidentified males were captured on security cameras taking three large stacks of newspapers,  about 500 copies.

The Signal has filed a police report with the Georgia State University Police Department and an incident report with the Office of the Dean of Students.

Earlier in the year, on May 13, a similar incident occurred where a group of female students were seen dumping approximately 250 newspapers into a recycling bin.

After the first incident occurred, The Signal filed an incident report with the Office of the Dean of Students. The report was dismissed because the university could not find enough evidence that any individuals dumped the copies of The Signal.

The Student Judicial Board also weighed in on the case saying that the trashing of the 250 newspapers was not a theft since students have the right to trash as many papers as they want.

“It’s open it’s accessible to everyone,” Allison Renyi, former chief justice of the Student Judicial Board, told The Signal in May. “As one student, while it would be grossly unfair of me, I could take every single one of the papers because, as a student, those papers are mine.”

Attorney Advocate of the Student Press Law Center, Adam Goldstein, argues otherwise.

“Theft isn’t measured by the cost of something, it’s measured by value you deprive somebody of,” Goldstein said. “You deprive everyone of value [when you take these newspapers]; you deprive the readers; you deprive the advertisers who paid to get a message out; you deprive the [newspaper] staff who put time into the paper.”

The GSUPD dismissed the original incident after saying that it was not a crime because the papers were recovered later on.

“If an officer cannot recognize that the taking of newspapers is a crime, then he should just give up his badge and go work in fast food,” Goldstein said.

A disclaimer was printed in each copy of The Signal after the incident that states that “the first copy of The Signal is free. Additional copies can be purchased from our office for $1.00 each.”

According to Rebecca Stout, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, the disclaimer that is in The Signal creates a stronger case that the actions of the three individuals were a violation of the student code of conduct.

Newspaper theft has become a current threat to student papers in Georgia. There were 12 reported cases of newspaper theft in 2012 alone, according to a map created by the SPLC.

As of press time, The Signal has requested further review of surveillance tapes in the University Student Center.


As of Oct. 8, two of the individuals in the picture have admitted to taking large amounts of Signal newspapers. Riley Gillison, the white male to the left of the screen, came into The Signal on Oct. 5 and told Signal editors that he was responsible for taking the copies of the newspaper.

“I thought I could just take some newspapers to make my Halloween costume and some arts and crafts to decorate my house back home,” Gillison said.

When asked if he had any proof of his statement, Gillison said he was not “big on photos.”

Gillison agreed to bring in the costume that he made with the newspapers on Oct. 6, though he has yet to bring in any proof.

On Oct. 8, Christopher B. Walker, the black male to the right of Gillison in the picture, came into The Signal and admitted to helping Gillison take the newspapers.

“We just took it for arts and crafts,” Walker said. “[Gillison] just asked me to help him.”

As of press time, the third individual has not been identified.




  1. I’m not mad that some students took it upon themselves to save the entire student body from having to read extremely poor journalism. What type of school newspaper would create an article entitled, “Why We Suck?” the purpose of a school newspaper should be to uplift the student body, not bring it down. Here’s a newsflash for the Signal staff—– “You Suck!”

  2. @ SignalEditor— Regardless, the Signal is doing a horrible job. How do you expect students to have any type of pride in our school when you all are writing demeaning headlines like, “Why We Suck” in the newspaper… that is totally UNACCEPTABLE. Signal Editor, I would like you to explain why that is acceptable. Not to mention, one of your writers wrote a story on how our Fight Song (which is great) sounds horrible and needs to be changed. You all just slapped all 150 members of our talented marching band in the face with that article. For the record, our marching band sounds GREAT playing the fight song. As a student in the School of Music, I was shocked and appalled that someone would wtrite something like that. I’m just asking that you all be a little more sensitive and conscientious when you write articles. Thank you.

    • I’m going to push back here. As someone who has been at Georgia State for quite a while, I can say that the Signal has come along away over the past few years. When I first started here, the Signal was just not very interesting. There weren’t any “inflamatory” or controversial reports, but only because the paper was essentially a giant PR pamphlet (and not a very good one). The articles were poorly written, and the overall quality of the content was pretty low. There were hardly any investigative reports about student fees, and certainly no assessments of the effectiveness of the student government and university administration. It was increadibly frustating to see the school’s newspaper fall into irrelevance and obscurity when there was so much potential for the Signal to be a major voice for student concerns, as well as a venue for thought-provoking and controversial writing on certain aspects of the university.

      That being said, I’m glad to see that people are actually reading the Signal now, even if they disagree with the nature of its content. It’s actually touching on some controversial topics and raising eyebrows rather than falling into easy and banal patterns of platitudes and empty PR catchphrases. If that’s the kind of thing you enjoy in an independent school newspaper, then I actually feel sorry for you. It must be pretty dull having your own opinions and preferences constantly confirmed in boring prose. Saying that criticisms of certain aspects of the school in the editorial section somehow dampens “school pride” seems like a criticism devoid of content. Even the phrase “school pride” just looks like another empty catchphrase to me. I’m proud to be a GSU student, but not because I think the school can do wrong. I don’t feel any kind of nationalistic allegiance to GSU, and I don’t think it’s the university’s job to instill that in me. I’m proud of the education I received, and the critical thinking skills that I learned. To the extent that GSU as an institution made the unique education I received possible, I feel proud to have been part of that institution. To the extent that GSU instituted policies that detracted from my education, I am critical, and I don’t see the recent articles in the Signal as doing anything other than being critical in this way. It seems like a university should foster critical thinking at all levels rather than constantly affirming how great it is, and how special it’s students are.

      TL;DR: I’d rather have a paper that publishes critical investigations and controversial editorials than one that simply repeats empty PR for the university.

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