RIVER FALLS, Wis. — Hoping to keep his name out of print after he received an underage drinking citation, Tory Schaaf burned nearly every copy of his college newspaper.
That made the University of Wisconsin-River Falls junior front-page news and matters worse.
Campus officials and local police are investigating, and Schaaf faces possible criminal charges and discipline from the university.
The Student Senate voted to file letters of reprimand against Schaaf and one of his fraternity brothers. Bylaws prevent the Senate from taking further action until the two are convicted, President Joe Eggers said.
Schaaf, a 19-year-old from Prior Lake, Minn., told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he took a couple of hundred copies and burned them at his fraternity, Theta Chi. He apologized and promised to pay for the newspapers and accept whatever punishment he received.
“I made a big mistake and a terrible error in judgment,” he said.
Beth Dickman, editor of the UW-River Falls Student Voice, called Schaaf’s stunt ridiculous.
“He was trying to hide what he had done, and he has just made it worse,” Dickman said.
She said the newspapers were reported stolen on March 29.
“We heard there was a party and a bonfire, and our paper was used for kindling,” Dickman said. “We put so much time into it. But it was student money that got burned.”
Voice editors estimated $2,000 worth of newspapers were stolen — far more than Schaaf said. They print 3,500 copies each Wednesday.
This was the third newspaper theft at UW-River Falls in the past 20 years. Four years ago, pranksters took newspapers and left a ransom note. The papers were later found in an office.