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Phi Kappa Psi homework found with stolen Wildcats

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Lisa Beth Earle | The Daily Wildcat Lisa Beth Earle/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Some of the missing Daily Wildcat papers lie crumpled spread across a road on Friday, Oct.8. About 10,000 copies were stolen from newsstands across campus on Thursday, Oct. 7 and only a few hundred have been found.

Some of the thousands of Arizona Daily Wildcat issues stolen Oct. 8 were recovered at two sites near West Anklam Road on Friday.


Among the abandoned newspapers was a piece of homework with the names of UA students Nick Kovaleski and Alex Cornell, both undeclared freshmen.

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Both students are identified in the Greek Pages as members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.


Close to 10,000 newspapers went missing Thursday morning. Initial estimates by Arizona Student Media, the university department that oversees the Wildcat, placed the newspapers' value at $8,500, including advertising revenue, salaries and production costs.


The Wildcat received several tips Thursday from persons wishing to remain anonymous who claimed that Phi Kappa Psi fraternity members were responsible for the theft.


Wildcat reporters asked Phi Kappa Psi leadership several times during an interview Thursday whether or not members of the fraternity had stolen the newspapers, but the president and vice president of the fraternity would neither confirm nor deny involvement in the theft.


Fred Smith, Daily Wildcat production manager, said he saw approximately 1,000 of the newspapers in the desert near Daisy Mae's Steak House, 2735 W. Anklam Rd., Friday morning.


Smith said he was looking through the papers at 10:30 a.m. when he saw the corner of a piece of paper sticking out. When he pulled the paper out, he said, he saw that it was someone's Spanish homework.


""(The homework) was just in with the papers,"" he said.


When contacted by phone, Kovaleski said, ""I would have no clue at all. I'm in no way involved, and neither is Phi Psi. I have no idea how my homework got out there.""


A second dumping site was found near the corner of Mountain Side Drive and Mountain Side Way in the Twin Hills Estate neighborhood.


The newspapers must have been abandoned sometime in the early morning, said David Musgrove, vice president of the Twin Hills Estate neighborhood association.


Musgrove said the newspapers were not there when he left his house at 6:30 a.m., but when he returned 30 minutes later they were scattered across the street and his yard.


Musgrove contacted the Pima County Sheriff's Department to report the mess. A deputy was sent to the scene and an incident report was filed.


Adam Goldstein, an attorney advocate for the Student Press Law Center, said a significant number of newspaper thefts are committed by Greek organizations or persons with friends upset about articles appearing in Police Beat-type features.


The stolen edition of the Daily Wildcat contained a Police Beat item in which a woman told officers she thought she had been drugged at a Phi Kappa Psi party.


Phi Kappa Psi leadership has opened an internal investigation into whether or not fellow fraternity members may be responsible for the mass newspaper theft, said Keith Peters, president of Phi Kappa Psi.


""We're doing an internal investigation to find out if individuals in our fraternity were actually involved. I can't say at this point if they were or weren't,"" he said. ""We're going to be handling that through an internal judicial board with serious repercussions with any of the people that were involved, if there were any.""


While it is possible that members may be responsible, the theft was not a concerted effort by the fraternity as a whole, Peters said.


""The fraternity itself was not involved in making this decision (to steal newspapers), if members were actually involved, which at this point in time we don't even know,"" he said.


If the fraternity's executive board finds probable reason to bring charges against involved members, the situation would move forward similar to a court case, Peters said.


Peters added that he did not know what possible punishments within the fraternity might come out of the case.


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Updated December 8, 2021