In an era when the media is increasingly under attack, someone at Loyola appeared to take matters into their own hands by throwing away stacks of Loyola’s student newspaper, The Phoenix, at the downtown Water Tower Campus. This is the second time since December issues of The Phoenix went missing.
Now, the school’s private police force, Campus Safety, is investigating who is behind what the agency’s crime log is terming a possible theft.
On Aug. 11, two Phoenix editors noticed papers were missing from Loyola’s School of Communication, the building that houses The Phoenix newsroom as well as offices and classrooms for Loyola’s journalism professors. They found the copies in a nearby trash can.
The Campus Safety officer stationed at the School of Communication front desk at the time was Alicia Roman, who was named in a story in that edition of the paper.
The first time the papers went missing Dec. 6, Roman was named in a front page story of that issue. It’s unclear if she was working at the time the December papers went missing and The Phoenix didn’t bring the incident to Murray’s attention.
The original story found Roman was fired from the Chicago Police Department (CPD) in 2006 after she fired multiple gunshots into the wall of a residence while off duty, according to CPD documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. FOIA requires departments to share police reports, body camera footage, internal communications and a wealth of other information allows the public to review police actions.
In 2008, Roman began working for Campus Safety.
In December, Murray confirmed Roman is still patrolling for the department. Roman is also still armed. Murray said Roman was hired before he came to Loyola and wouldn’t comment further on if Loyola knew about her history with CPD before she was hired.
The summer issue story mentioned Roman’s 2006 incident in the first sentence and went on to outline how Loyola Campus Safety and other university police departments aren’t subject to FOIA.
The two editors notified Campus Safety Aug. 12 of the summer issue papers found in the trash. That day Murray responded saying “we are already investigating.”
In a phone call the next day, Murray said the case wasn’t a “whodunit,” and after his department reviewed the security footage it would refer the case to Loyola’s human resources department if necessary.
“We have a standard with Campus Safety that I want to hold people to. When they don’t, there are things we do and processes that I as a director need to put into play,” Murray said.
Murray also refused to let The Phoenix review security footage of the incident, saying “we don’t show security footage to anybody.”
Murray also said he wasn’t aware the papers went missing Dec. 6.
But Murray did indicate he was aware of how Roman handled herself when approached by Phoenix reporters trying to speak with her before the Dec. 6 story was published.
Roman was approached near the School of Communication building by Phoenix reporters. She declined to comment to one, and when another tried to take a photo of her on a public sidewalk, she walked inside School of Communication and became angry, demanding any photos taken be deleted. The Phoenix refused to do so.
Murray said he spoke with her about this behavior, which was noted in the Dec. 6 article, in which he was quoted as calling Roman “a good employee.”
In an Aug. 20 interview, Murray referred questions about the investigation to human resources and said “there’s nothing to hide here.”
The Loyola Human Resources department didn’t return a request to confirm whether they’d received a report.
Missing papers have been an issue at other student newspapers around the country, according to news reports.
University of Buffalo’s (UB) student paper, The Spectrum, also had its summer issue papers go missing but an investigation found it was student workers mistakenly cleaning up.
In that case, the Spectrum editor-in-chief was allowed to review security footage of the incident with UB’s police department.
Florida Atlantic University’s paper, University Press, reported on an alleged gang rape at an annual off-campus party. Hundreds of papers went missing after the paper published a cover story on the one-year anniversary of the incident.
The University Press filed a police report after its papers went missing.
Roman couldn’t be reached for comment for this story.