Leadership from the Daily Wildcat met with the Greek Standards Board last night for a hearing to consider whether Phi Kappa Psi fraternity was involved in the theft of more than 10,000 newspapers on Oct. 8, costing Arizona Student Media an estimated $8,500 in advertising revenue, printing costs and salaries.
The reasons for doing so are clear — the preponderance of evidence gathered by Daily Wildcat staff points to some kind of involvement by the fraternity’s members, from members’ homework found among the stolen property to numerous e-mails and phone calls pointing fingers toward Phi Psi’s involvement in the newspaper case.
“I am not in Phi Kappa Psi, but I was told of the incident before it occurred and can state with absolute certainty the following facts. The theft was carried out by members of Phi Kappa Psi, under the orders of fraternity leadership,” wrote Brennan Vincent, a mathematics first-year. “Everyone from the president to new pledges was involved in the incident. It was an effort to contain the spread of what Phi Kappa Psi members believe to be a false accusation of rape or attempted rape on Phi Kappa Psi property.”
A Police Beat item in the stolen issue contained a police report in which a woman said she thought she may have been drugged at a Phi Kappa Psi party.
To steal 10,000 newspapers in a span of less than two hours requires organization and manpower. No two people could have done this. It stands to reason that if another organization had been involved, someone would have talked by now.
One thing is certain; Phi Kappa Psi members Alex Cornell and Nick Kovaleski are linked to this theft. Their homework was discovered among the stolen newspapers found near West Anklam Road and North Cameron View Place. It didn’t just blow there in the wind.
However, for some inexplicable reason, campus police failed to follow through on anything resembling an investigation, declining to question Cornell, Kovaleski or even Phi Kappa Psi President Keith Peters.
Additionally, Peters himself promised an internal investigation into Phi Kappa Psi’s involvement in the theft. So far, he has released no results to the public nor provided proof that such an investigation is underway. Even if Peters did not order the theft, at least two of his fraternity’s members are indisputably implicated in the crime. It is Peters’ responsibility as a leader on this campus to investigate when his members are accused of felony theft from the University [of Arizona] and potentially criminal violations of civil rights.
But so far, Peters has done nothing. Of course, it’s fully within this man’s rights to decline comment to the Daily Wildcat. It’s also Peters’ decision whether he wants to allow his members run amok. But, whether he likes it or not, his silence and inaction are damning. Until evidence is provided to the contrary, all signs point to Phi Kappa Psi being involved in this crime.
To do nothing sets a dangerous precedent. If University of Arizona officials do not start treating this case seriously, they tell the community that anyone who has a grievance with a University department can steal $8,500. Until this case is definitively settled, the newspaper’s staff will continue to do whatever is necessary to find justice.
This editorial was originally published by The Daily Wildcat at the University of Arizona.