Local News

Dec 18, 2013 7:40 PM by Rick Spruill

Fraternity Accused of Stealing Papers to Quash Story

CORPUS CHRISTI - It's actually a story within a story - a former fraternity member and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi student, implicated and charged in a human smuggling ring.

The Island Wave newspaper reported last week the story of Jacob Woerner and Stephen Sluyter on the front page, above the fold - the place where you put the biggest news.

Wwoerner, a former Kappa Sigma member, pleaded guilty last year to transporting an unlawful alien. It's a federal crime.

But it seems the fraternity - or at least a few members - have tried to quash the story and intimidate newspaper staff.

Island Wave Editor-in-Chief Ashley Dyckman said she's a little bit afraid now that one of her fellow students, whom she said is a Kappa Sigma member, confronted her off campus about the story.

"He followed us for a good two miles and was cutting in and out of traffic, aggressively weaving," Dyckman told KRIS 6 News on Wednesday. "(He) threw his middle finger at us, three or four times until he drove away and I made my turn where I was supposed to go."

KRIS-6 checked with school officials.

They confirmed some of the newspaper staff have filed reports which also allege fraternity members tried to swipe papers from their stands.

University spokeswoman Gloria Gallardo said the university prides itself on protecting their students safety and their right of free speech.

"Anything that we have that is a concern for faculty or students or staff members we make sure to follow every protocol that is necessary to make sure we follow up on statements and investigate them thoroughly to continue to provide a very safe learning environment for everyone," Gallardo said.

Kappa Sigma's Ben Williams told KRIS 6 News the boys had all been instructed to not swipe the newspapers.

"We were told not to take anything off the stands so I know noone did that," he said. "Other than that I have no idea. I'm not really involved in that. I stayed out of it for this exact reason."

Dyckman said the real issue is that even though it may sometimes be uncomfortable, free speech is an idea worth protecting.

She said that the edition of the paper, which hit newstands last week, has been one of most popular this year.

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