The city of Berkeley has passed a law making it explicitly illegal to steal newspapers. This decision came after Berkeley’s mayor was fined for throwing out 1,000 copies of a student newspaper that endorsed his opponent. FIRE has extensively publicized the issue of newspaper thefts on college campuses, one of which occurred on the Berkeley campus when vandals broke into the office of the College Republicans and stole 3,000 copies of a student publication, The California Patriot. Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl denounced the theft as “unconscionable,” pledging both to conduct a full investigation and to bring criminal and campus charges against those responsible. FIRE is dismayed by the high level of recent “book burnings” on American campuses (at Berkeley and elsewhere) and trusts that Chancellor Berdahl’s words will be matched by his actions.
FIRE Case Files