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Phi Psi hearing set in paper theft case

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Daily Wildcat production manager Fred Smith (left) and news editor Tim McDonnell (right) investigate the missing Daily Wildcat newspapers dumped in the desert. The homework was linked to a Phi Psi member.

The UA Greek Standards Board has set a hearing with the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity to determine if the chapter is responsible for the mass theft of 10,000 copies of the Daily Wildcat on Oct. 8.


Daily Wildcat representatives and the fraternity will address the Greek Judicial Board on Nov. 4 to present each of their cases, said Jenny Nirh, senior coordinator for Fraternity and Sorority Programs within Greek Life.

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In order for the board to find Phi Kappa Psi responsible for the estimated $8,500 loss the newspaper sustained from the theft, Daily Wildcat representatives must show that the mass theft was a collaborative effort, and not just the work of a few individuals, Nirh added.


""It is the responsibility of the complainant to show that it is more likely than not that Phi Kappa Psi fraternity is responsible for the incident,"" she said. ""This means that (the Wildcat has) to show that it is not just two individuals, but rather that it was the fraternity planning and carrying out this activity.""


Following the hearing, the Greek Judicial Board will send a letter to the fraternity by Nov. 6 stating whether Phi Kappa Psi is responsible for the theft, as well as outlining any possible sanctions, according to official Greek Standards Board processes.


A simple majority vote is needed for the board to reach a verdict.


About 10,000 newspapers were stolen from Daily Wildcat stands on Oct. 8. Several thousand of the stolen newspapers were found on the western outskirts of Tucson the next day, along with Spanish homework bearing the names of UA students Nick Kovaleski and Alex Cornell, who are both members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.


The fraternity's president and vice president originally would neither confirm nor deny Phi Kappa Psi's involvement in the mass theft. Phi Kappa Psi President Keith Peters later told the Daily Wildcat the fraternity would be carrying out an internal investigation.


Peters, Cornell and Kovaleski have repeatedly declined comment concerning the ongoing case and the fraternity's internal investigation.


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Updated November 24, 2021