By Associated Press - Friday, February 28, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Police at Virginia Commonwealth University are investigating reports that members of the school’s Student Government Association removed stacks of the student newspaper after it published an article detailing conflicts within the organization.

Any students found to have unlawfully removed copies of The Commonwealth Times could face criminal charges as well as punishment under the student code of conduct, Mike Porter, the university’s associate vice president for public affairs, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Thursday. He added that the university doesn’t condone “censorship in any form.”

University police became involved Wednesday after Commonwealth Times news editor Hannah Eason reported seeing SGA members taking the newspapers from campus kiosks. Stacks of them were later found in trash cans and recycling bins. The student paper’s executive editor, Georgia Geen, told the Times-Dispatch she filed a police report.

The newspaper’s front-page article described how some SGA members have of accused the organization’s leaders of harassment and creating a toxic environment. The article was headlined “Toxic” and accompanied by a photo of SGA members at a meeting.

The SGA president didn’t respond to requests from The Richmond Times-Dispatch or The Commonwealth Times for comment, the newspapers said.

In November, an employee at Virginia’s Radford University was disciplined after 1,000 copies of the student newspaper disappeared following complaints by administrators about a photo, news outlets reported at the time. No criminal charges were filed in that case.

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