Much to the dismay of the Pioneer newspaper staff, a theft occurred in the newspaper’s Hillwood Commons office sometime between the last meeting of the fall semester and the beginning of the spring semester. On January 16, co-editors-in-chief Alexandria Parker and Olivia Wicik returned to their offices to prepare for the upcoming semester. The two were surprised when they discovered that two iMacs were missing. “Alex and I were shocked to realize our two most significant computers were missing. A million questions went through our heads like, ‘Who did this? Why? When did this happen?’” said Wicik.
The editors-in-chief had been in the office for an hour discussing news stories and layout ideas for the Pioneer. “We got to the office around 10:00 a.m. but did not realize the computers were missing until around 10:45 a.m. Nothing else was missing or out of place,” said Parker. The computers, which were in the back layout room, were the only target of theft, and one that will temporarily harm the publication of the newspaper this semester. The Pioneer’s door had been locked and there was no sign of a break-in.
These particular computers were specifically used for the newspaper’s layout and their unknown whereabouts are hindering the production of the weekly papers. Parker and Wicik immediately notified the Pioneer’s advisor as well as the Dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts, and then filed a report with Public Safety, the campus security department. “Public Safety did not say much about it; we filed a report and we are still waiting to see what they come up with,” Parker said.
It has been a week and a half and there are still no leads about who might have taken the computers.
At the same time, it came to the Pioneer’s attention that the locks to the Pioneer offices had been changed over the winter break. This information was provided by Alerie Trisch, the director of Student Life and Leadership. She told the editors that the change had been made for “security purposes.” Ironically, after this helpful change, the office had a theft.
The Pioneer contacted Ms. Trich’s supervisor Dr. William Gustafson, associate provost, who said, “There have been no reported incidents of this nature in Hillwood Commons in recent years. The locks were changed on the office doors on January 14 by the campus locksmith as part of Hillwood Commons’ regularly scheduled key maintenance program. The lock changes are unrelated to this incident.” Dr. Gustafson does not believe that a staff member would cause detriment to the production of the school’s award-winning paper either.
Upon being asked if there should be a record of who enters and exits the office, Wicik said, “Yes, absolutely…technically, no one other than Pioneer staff members and the maintenance crew should be in our office without our permission. It would be nice for the workers at the desk to write down the names of the people who asked to be let into our office and let us know. It would also be courteous of the administration to let us know if they were in our office.” If such a precaution is put into place, incidents as such may be avoided in the future.
Evidently, there was a possibility of the computers being taken for repair, although the staff was not notified that any repairs were planned. However, after discussing that with Gary Miller, who maintains the computers for the Pioneer, that possibility was quickly eliminated. Nancy Marksbury, head of the Information Technology department, graciously loaned the Pioneer a retired iMac so that the first issue could be published.
Parker said, “Gary Miller got us replacement computers and installed them with the Adobe software we need. He has been a great deal of help to us.” To support Parker’s statement, Wicik said, “We were very lucky because two temporary computers have been loaned to us while we wait for new ones to arrive. However, we lost our entire layout and a lot of other important information on those computers. We have a very hardworking and dedicated staff that is working diligently to reconstruct the layout before our first issue. In the end, this was merely a headache, nothing else.”
With the work ethic of the newspaper staff, there is no doubt that the setback will be only a temporary problem. If anyone has information about the Pioneer’s missing computers, please contact Public Safety immediately.