Second student comes forward

A second student has come forward and admitted to removing hundreds of copies of Signal newspapers from newsstands.

On Thursday, Oct. 8, Christopher B. Walker walked into The Signal’s office and admitted that he had helped Riley Gillison take more than 500 Signal newspapers.

Walker stated that he had been asked by Riley Gillison to help him take the copies of The Signal for “arts and crafts.”

Gillison said he would return with evidence of his craft project, but has yet to do so.

Gillison said he was completely responsible for taking hundreds of Signal papers from a University Center newsstand when he came to The Signal office last Monday. When asked why he took the copies, he said they were used for a Halloween costume and decorations for his Johns Creek home.

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

Gillison told Signal staffers that he used the hundreds of papers for a papier-mâché costume for Halloween. He said that he’s “not big on photos” and he has no pictures to confirm his costume or arts and crafts.

Friends told Gillison of The Signal’s coverage of the missing papers, the police surveillance video and CBS Atlanta 46’s news story on the incident.

“Once I found out I came in the first business day I found out about it,” Gillison said.

Gillison said he didn’t understand that only the first issue of the paper is free, and additional are at a cost of $1.

“I’m just a freshman so when I first got here there were people in the courtyard just handing out Signals so I thought they were free,” Gillison said.

On the two other students seen carrying papers in the video, Gillison would not say their names. He said he acted alone.

“Oh they just helped me carry it,” Gillison said. “That’s literally all they did was help me carry them.”

Students anonymous reported on social media the identities of the other students in the police footage and reports of papers stolen from other newsstands. The Signal cannot confirm these reports at this time.

Gillison also said his ties with Georgia State’s Kappa Sigma chapter have nothing to do with the missing papers. Gillison also maintained that he would supply proof of his Halloween costume and crafts to the Dean of Student and The Signal, but those were not seen before press time.

The Signal filed a report with the Dean of Students and with Georgia State Police last week.

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.

At last week’s full senate Student Government Association meeting, students weighed in on the disappearance of the papers. The senate agreed to help with the search of persons responsible by posting the pictures from the security camera on their Facebook page, in hopes someone may recognize those involved.

“SGA is very sorry about that the copies of The Signal were stolen,” said Taylor Briggs, executive vice president of the SGA. “We do not support any kind of theft or defacing of property on campus.”

Newspaper theft has become a growing problem for student papers in Georgia. There were 12 reported cases of newspaper theft in 2012 alone, according to a map created by the Student Press Law Center.

Last semester, on May 13, female students were seen putting more than 250 copies of the paper in recycling bins.

The Student Judicial Board previously weighed in on the prior case, saying trashing 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.

According to attorney advocate of the SPLC, Adam Goldstein, taking hundreds of newspaper off the stands is stealing more than paper.

“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.”

UPDATE (10:22 a.m. November 27, 2012):

The Dean of Students has confirmed that Riley Gillison, the student who admitted to taking a large amount of Signal copies, has yet to come forth with evidence of the Halloween costume he claimed to have used the papers for.

Neither Gillison or Christopher B. Walker, the student who admitted to helping Gillison take the Signal copies, have gone to the Dean of Students to discuss the incident.