The Associated Students-sponsored newspaper The Bottom Line has suffered a recent series of vandalism at distribution bins around campus.
Racks at Embarcadero Hall, Campbell Hall and Carrillo Dining Commons are among the sites where issues of TBL were removed and replaced with old issues of the Daily Nexus, some dating as far back as December. As of print, no suspects have been identified.
Erica Yu, executive managing editor at TBL, said the paper swaps began last quarter.
“It’s annoying because whoever’s doing this is basically throwing away student funds — we’re funded by A.S.,” Yu said. “We put in all this work and effort … and, when publication day comes, there’s a lot of excitement, so for this to happen is really disappointing to us.”
Yu said Hannah Peterson, executive content editor at TBL, talked to UCPD about their legal options.
“[The UCPD] said it’s not a crime because the paper is technically free,” Yu said. “They can’t do anything unless our racks and bins get damaged because those are our property whereas the paper is not.”
TBL Media Advisor Monica Lopez said student paper distributors have faced confusion and frustration in the wake of the vandalism.
“It’s a matter of the amount of cleanup the students have to do,” Lopez said. “Distribution [of the paper] is voluntary. We have the staff and writers come and deliver the paper on Wednesday morning and it’s discouraging to have their work undone by the next day.”
Elysia Cook, distribution manager at TBL, said the vandalism seems to have no purpose.
“It’s not consistent and has no message,” Cook said. “One or two times The Bottom Line was still underneath the old Nexus issues, but usually it’s just completely gone. One time the wire rack was dismantled and leaning against the wall.”
The logistics of such a task — transporting hundreds of newspapers — seems to go beyond typical vandalism and Yu said the swaps seemed to be planned. Yu also said none of TBL staff know who may have switched the papers.
“We don’t see the reason behind it,” Yu said. “We know it’s no one at the Nexus because it would be too self-incriminating, but we don’t know who it could be.”
The Bottom Line staff asks anyone with information about the vandalism to contact the paper at (805) 893-2440.