After several Tropolitan newspaper racks were swiped clean, one student issued an apology for his “disposal” of papers, and he faces potential disciplinary action by the university.
The papers, featuring a story about an investigation into Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, disappeared between Thursday, Sept. 21, and Tuesday, Sept. 26, from various residences and academic buildings around campus.
Jordan Goodman, a junior communication major from Eclectic and resident assistant of Trojan Village 200, identified himself as a participant in removing the Trops via various social media posts.
In a response to another tweet, Goodman tweeted, “So you’re telling me, if someone passes by the few news stands that I didn’t throw papers out of, they would directly see AOII’s story,” on Friday, Sept. 22.
The story about AOII sorority was included in the same Tropolitan edition as the Lambda Chi story.
Goodman expressed his regret in an interview with the Tropolitan and an apology letter to the staff he agreed to make public.
“I did not realize it was illegal at the time, and if I did, I would not have done it,” Goodman told the Tropolitan.
Though Goodman, known by his Twitter handle as @J-Goooodies, chose not to give comment about his motives for trashing the papers, he was vocal about his feelings towards the Trop on Twitter.
“Why put out an article if you don’t have enough evidence to make you seem like an intelligent individual???” Goodman tweeted in regard to the recent article regarding Lambda Chi fraternity’s investigation for alleged conduct violations, which is now closed. The fraternity was cleared.
Tropolitan staff members identified papers disappearing from racks in Smith Hall, Bibb Graves Hall, Patterson Hall, female New Residence Hall and Trojan Village 200.
The Tropolitan notified Troy University Detective James Taylor of stolen Tropolitans on Friday morning. Taylor said he passed the investigation over to Dean of Student Services Herbert Reeves. Reeves said the procedure in a situation like this is to contact the student(s) who initiated the crime and give them a chance to give their reason for their actions.
“I think he was more so identified by his social media post(s), which basically indicated that he had done it,” Reeves said.
Reeves said that Goodman did admit to stealing the Tropolitans, though only in one building, and that Goodman said he doesn’t know who might have taken the rest. Reeves added that Goodman was upset about the publication of the investigation into Lambda Chi, of which he is a member, which is why he threw the Tropolitans away.
“Because of the article that was coming out as related to the fraternity — that was the reason he was angry, because he felt like the story on Lambda Chi was more of a one-sided story,” Reeves said. “He said that’s the reason he did it.
“He stands alone as an individual. That (further disciplinary action) won’t have anything to do with Lambda Chi or the chapter as whole; it will have to do with him as an individual.”
Goodman also tweeted about his distaste for the Trop’s stories and what he described as a lack of readership.
“Goodnight to everyone except the trop and it’s 3 readers,” Goodman posted on Twitter.
Sable Riley, a senior multimedia journalism major from Dothan and editor-in-chief of the Tropolitan, pointed out that the week the Lambda Chi article was published, the website tropnews.com received 11,000 hits.
“What I don’t understand is why they think throwing the newspapers away is going to resolve the issue because there is an online edition as well, so the story is out there,” Reeves said. “All you are doing is basically adding fuel to the fire.”
Goodman’s formal apology letter to the Tropolitan and its readers was issued on the recommendation of Reeves, although Reeves said further disciplinary action will be taken against him.
Goodman’s letter says that he is “remorseful” for his actions, and he had not considered how his actions might affect Tropolitan staff members and readers.
In addition to being an RA and Lambda Chi member, Goodman is a senator for Troy’s Student Government Association and a Trojan ambassador. Reeves said Goodman’s actions reflect poorly on himself and the organizations he represents.
“I think they reflect very poorly on him, the groups he represents and certainly on the university because y’all (the Trop staff) are leaders, too,” Reeves said. “The decision he made is just a poor decision.”
“As a representative of Troy University, I recognize that my actions could influence others on our campus,” Goodman’s letter read. “I am also aware of my responsibility to obey University policies and encourage others to do so as well.”
Every Thursday morning, Tropolitan newspapers are delivered to racks on campus for distribution before 9 a.m.
According to the Tropolitan’s editorial policies, “The first copy of the Tropolitan is free to any student or employee of Troy University. Each additional copy costs $1.”
A similar incident occurred in 2010 when several members of Alpha Delta Pi sorority stole Tropolitan newspapers on the morning of the Trop’s distribution, resulting in the sorority having to pay for the reprint of the papers for Friday morning.
“If you disagree with something that is put in the newspaper or you feel like you need to state your case, then go down, see the staff,” Reeves said. “Tell them you want to have your opportunity to have your say, whether it’s about you or your organization. But taking the newspapers and throwing them away is not going to prevent people from knowing what’s going on.”
Expressions of concern about any articles in the Trop as well as letters to the editor are always welcome and should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.