Orange Coast College officials are wondering if an editorial criticizing the O.J. Simpson verdict prompted the disappearance of 9,000 copies of the student paper.
"We're confused," Guy Burney, co-editor of the weekly Coast Report, said Thursday. "We weren't attacking student government, it was just O.J."
The papers were placed in 22 racks around the campus Wednesday morning, Burney said, adding that by 8:30 p.m. Wednesday most were still there.
But when he arrived on campus at 8 a.m. Thursday all the papers--with Simpson's picture and the headlines "Not Guilty" and "O.C. Students Debate Verdict" blaring above the fold--had vanished.
He said he doubts students hungry for news of the trial snapped up the copies. Instead, some staffers believe that the content of the opinion page might explain the disappearance of the papers, particularly an editorial criticizing the verdict and a large cartoon depicting Simpson celebrating. Debates around campus have been "very heated," Burney said.
College spokesman Jim Carnett said thefts such as this occur occasionally, the last time about seven years ago. He ventured another explanation: "Maybe it was a mad recycling person running around campus."
Costa Mesa police were sympathetic but said that since the papers are free, there has been no crime, although a log of the incident was made for insurance purposes.
The paper's staff decided to shell out an extra $1,200 for another printing run, however, and the verdict papers will be back in the racks today.