By Melissa Boyd (Whetstone staff)

I’m a passionate person; quiet, but passionate.

When I get a new pet, I nurture it ridiculously; many of you know my Trixie and how much I am obscenely attached to her.

When I tutor or teach someone a subject, I wait until the job is done and that my student or tutee understands the material to the best of their ability and is able to move on to more complex subjects.

I’m passionate about my newspaper.

Print date is my favorite day every two to three weeks because I see the newspapers fly off the shelves and I have the beautiful gift of seeing people read my words. I have the ability to inform, to teach through written words.

This print date, though?

While I was taking a final exam on Tuesday, several of my newspapers were stolen – not just 10 or 15, try 100-150 – that’s 10-15 percent of our distribution.

Newspapers that I spent hours preparing – checking sources, writing articles, laying out design. I deserved to have real readers.

Newspapers that my fellow reporters spent weeks writing. They deserved to see all 1,000 copies dispersed into rightful readers’ hands.

Newspapers that cost hundreds of dollars to print. The school deserved to not have hundreds of dollars thrown away.

I find it ridiculous that 10-15 students, members of an organization who are currently suspended for violating the student code of conduct and poorly treating their own members via hazing, stole at least 100 of my newspapers to “cover up” the fact that they are suspended.

We updated a version online because of the national headquarters request – I changed the 6-year suspension to a 5-year suspension, though I was told by the dean of students at Wesley, and confirmed, that it was a 6-year suspension.

But I’m professional. It’s one of the qualities I am most proud of and one of the qualities my parents most boast about.

I made the change because that’s my job.

But not only did immature Wesley students steal the papers (and several of them vandalized the newspapers by ripping off the front page of the newspapers), the national headquarters president contacted me about the changes and then proceeded to criticize the newspaper for its “inaccurate” facts.

I’m sorry, but I did nothing wrong here – I reported, in my article, who gave me the information and it’s not my fault if my reliable source mixed up a number by a digit, if she did make a mistake.

I’ll make the change, but do not criticize me as a reporter. I am a professional reporter who reports what her sources say.

That representative of the organization also failed to assume responsibility for anything – saying those members who had committed the hazing act were no longer a part of the organization but said I was not allowed to use those quotes as a source for the updated article.

I’m honestly angry – angry that students have so much disrespect for reporting the news that so many other students and faculty enjoy reading and deserve to have the option to read, angry that their national leader could not take any responsibility for the actions of their “members,” and angry that the school failed to do anything about it in a timely manner.

Our newspapers were stolen multiple times throughout the day and the school administration was notified several times.

The head of safety and security was the only one who really seemed to care, other than my adviser, and that makes me angry.

It is a crime to steal newspapers, even if they’re “free” newspapers.

Possible charges include: larceny, petty theft, criminal mischief or destruction of property.

We could press charges for damage done, requesting financial compensation for the damages and theft, which could be up to $2,500 in compensation.

Newspaper theft is a violation of the First Amendment and we could sue under civil rights laws.

In March of 2012, Georgia College and State University had students who stole the newspapers write a letter of apology to the newspaper staff and to provide $257 by a given date. If not done, the students could be suspended or expelled from the college.

In 1993, Pennsylvania State University had 4,000 copies stolen and the punishment for the student thieves included at least $1,500 in compensation.

I’m passionate about what I believe in.

I believe in caring for other people, respecting my elders and my teachers, being kind to animals.

I believe in reporting accurate news to the best of my ability and being professional even when difficult.

Those that threaten what I believe in should prepare for a passionate fight, because I fight for what I believe in.