SDS President, DTH Columnist and Candidate for Chapel Hill Mayor Implicated in Theft of the Carolina Review

Last spring, some of our staff members noticed that large stacks of our April 2009 issue had gone missing overnight from newsstands in the Undergraduate Library and Hamilton Hall. Considering that this was during exams week, we at the Review doubted that they had all been taken legitimately. We had a long list of possible suspects with a motive to make our April 2009 issue disappear, as the issue had been highly critical of a number of individuals and campus groups. However, we had no evidence of anything.

Until now. One of the groups criticized in the issue was Students for a Democratic Society (“Chapel Hill Hooligans Strike Again”, p. 21). Facebook photos obtained by the Carolina Review show Ben Carroll, the president of Students for a Democratic Society and write-in candidate for Mayor of Chapel Hill, along with Daily Tar Heel columnist Dominic Powell and a third individual, Scott Williams, standing in a pile of destroyed copies of the April 2009 issue of Carolina Review drinking beer and painting their living room. Hundreds of copies of Carolina Review (paid for by your student fee money) were apparently destroyed.

Considering the newsworthiness of this behavior by a candidate for public office, CRdaily is publishing some of the photographs below in order to inform our readers that a mayoral candidate is involved in destroying property, suppressing freedom of the press and censoring dissenting opinions.

These photographs also show how members of Students for a Democratic Society are engaged in a sustained effort to suppress the first amendment rights of those who they disagree with. Last spring, the engaged in violence for political ends against speakers whom they disagreed with. This fall, the Daily Tar Heel was targeted and vandalized with a “special anti-racist issue” placed over their papers. The DTH reacted strongly, even reportedly calling the police and attacked the vandals on their editorial page. Now, we have a staff member from the Daily Tar Heel apparently engaged in even worse behavior.

Update: The students involved have been informed that a complaint has been filed against them in the UNC Honor Court system. The student attorney general will decide by the end of next week whether to file formal charges.

Far Right: Ben Carroll, SDS president and candidate for mayor of Chapel Hill.
Center: Dominic Powell, DTH columnist.

32 thoughts on “SDS President, DTH Columnist and Candidate for Chapel Hill Mayor Implicated in Theft of the Carolina Review

  1. Riley Matheson Reply

    Excellent news!! I’m sure YWC might have been a suspect, so I’m glad our name has been cleared. We would never do something like that.

    I had an encounter with Ben Carroll, and he is a disgusting individual, in more ways than one. For as many differences as I have with you, Chris, I can at least say that I feel that we have a mutual understanding of our differences, and I would never stoop to such ungentlemanly ways of warring with you.

  2. Duke Cheston Reply

    Wow what petty, childish, contemptible bastards. Can they be prosecuted for that? I hope so.

    Great job reporting, Chris, by the way.

  3. Rob Lamb Reply

    I don't really side with either crowd here, but I think you need to read some first amendment law before making any statements about sustained suppression. Assuming issues lie around in public places and are eventually discarded, these could be from a stack left untouched by students (as is true for many free campus publications, DTH and CR included). Makes for a great story, though!

  4. Dr. Chris Clemens Reply

    This is a violation of the honor code. I hope the Carolina Review students and advisor will file a formal complaint with the student attorney general. The students involved should be suspended from the university.

  5. bweynand Reply

    Rob, we are not making any form of legal argument about First Amendment rights; as students and not agents of the government, they are incapable of legally violating those rights. They did actively seek to undermine the principles that are at the foundation of the First Amendment; that was the point, a philosophical one, not a legal one.

    On the question of honor court violations, we filed a formal complaint yesterday evening.

  6. Jeff Fulcher Reply

    There is also a case to be made for theft of personal property (and if you happened to have any bins damaged in the process, it can also be considered criminal trespassing/vandalism). I would definitely advise any student publication to file criminal charges against someone if they had proof their papers were stolen.

    Truthfully, the cops probably won't do much because very few seem to understand the laws regarding theft of "free" publications. One way to ensure you have some type of recourse is the add text somewhere in the magazine that reads "First issue Free, each subsequent issue $1." This adds a tangible cost to the stolen property, and not just value (which is still considered in legal cases, but harder to motivate law enforcement to go after).

    I don't know the specific laws regarding paper theft in North Carolina, but I know quite a few states have passed laws explicitly outlawing it. I would recommend contacting the Student Press Law Center. The folks over there are really smart when it comes to issues like this.

  7. Felix Chu Reply

    These kids are so freaking stupid as to post those pictures on Facebook. I now understand why their views are so liberal.

  8. Lauren Atencio Reply

    Personally I couldn't care less whether or not the stolen papers would have been thrown out at some point.

    The fact is that each of us pays nearly $2000 a year in student fees, and I do not seem to recall the student congress vote that allocated any amount of that money to these three jerks for the purchase of beer, hipster glasses and vomit green paint. They stole from a student organization for their own benefit and should be punished to the fullest extent allowed by the honor code.

  9. Former Columnist Reply

    As a former columnist for the DTH, I'd like to point out that as a columnist, Dominic really isn't a "staff member" of the DTH per se. Columnists act pretty independently from the paper, and indeed, the rest of the contributors to the opinion page. My contact with the DTH last year was with Allison Nichols, and that was it.

    So it's not fair to insinuate that the DTH as a whole is being a hypocritical- especially considering this happened before Dominic started writing for the paper. One of their contributing columnists just happened to have done something very stupid last April, and needs to figure out how to work his privacy settings.

  10. driver Reply

    The theft of publications is sheer brownshirtery (my own copywrited word) that has been used by self-styled lefty hipsters on campuses for years. Cornell, Dartmouth, Columbia, on and on. Their opinion publications are sacrosanct, but opposing points of view are heresy, and subject to the Inquisition.

    I hope these dirtbags will be treated like the neo-fascist little pigs that they are. They are just the Leftist version of Skinheads, or the Klan, but they lack the historical perspective to understand such an obvious concept.

  11. riograndevalleygirl Reply

    The Daily Tar Heel "contributing columnist" has been published in the NewsObserver as a representative of this university's official student newspaper. Whether The Daily Tar Heel likes it or not, it is fair to shine a light on this relationship.

    And what these three young men "need to figure out" is the value of freedom. In this country, we celebrate our right to express ourselves freely as long as we do not harm others. Members of SDS have repeatedly shown disdain for this precious gift. They have proven themselves malicious and dangerous to the preservation of freedom. And now a student with whom the Daily Tar Heel willingly associates has joined the SDS in their disdain. I shudder at the implications of those so young celebrating such narrow sensibilities.

  12. Mia&Mike Reply

    So true, Riogrande. Too many college students seek every kind of diversity in their school choice except the most important kind: diversity of opinion.

    These effete little students deserve our scorn and full punishment for their theft.

  13. driver Reply

    These students with the hipster glasses lack the historical perspective to understand that they are behaving like brownshirts. They would protest against skinheads and the Klan if someone organized them and told them to, but then again will behave exactly like those classic fascists….when someone tells them to. Brain dead. They don't belong at UNC or any other college.

  14. Carl Reply

    It's the April issue, they were free, and I'm sure they wouldn't have ALL been read anyways.
    At least they put these boring periodicals to use.

  15. bweynand Reply

    They appear to have stolen several hundred copies, are you seriously going to imply that none of them were going to be read?

    Moreover, your impression of our publication is boring is irrelevant, and that you argued this is childishly arrogant. Enough people find our publication worth reading to empty our most popular drop sites, and your individual opinion cannot change that.

    Our reaction is entirely reasonable in the eyes of most people, as indicated most clearly by the fact that the DTH saw it worth covering immediately, and you know it. If our magazine was more agreeable to your politics you would be making a different point. Your hypocrisy is transparent.

  16. riograndevalleygirl Reply

    Way to miss the point Carl. I'm sure 'thick as a plank' will be a great coping strategy in the Gulag.

    (And no, I don't expect the editors to post this.)

  17. driver Reply

    Hey. I'm a long-time radical conservative. I'm a long-time friend of The Dartmouth Review. I have lots friends in the upper echelons of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. How come I can't get a single lousy comment past the moderation queue at the CRD blog?? And this riograndevalleygirl just gets to post away, like she's somebody's mom or something. Jeez.

  18. Elliot Cramer Reply

    copy of letter to the daily tarheel
    I was very interested in your article in which DTH columnist Dominic Powell was implicated in the Theft of the Carolina Review. Your article neglected to mention that this is the same Dominic Powell who published an article critical of Youth for Western Civilization without disclosing the fact that he was a "known member of the UNC Protester's Defense Committee, along with Haley Koch" He also published an article critical of me in the News and Observer. Again, he failed to tell the News and Observer about his connection to Haley Koch and the protesters. The News and Observer published a retraction on October 9 saying "Guest writer Domenic Powell's Faceoff column on Page IB on Monday stated erroneously that retired UNC Chapel Hill Professor Elliot Cramer had called Powell personally a ''coward" and a"fascist;"

    The DTH has yet to explain why it published an article by a biased columnist and refused to publish a response. Is he STILL a columnist for the DTH?

    Elliot M. Cramer Professor Emeritus

  19. Guest Reply

    I wish the complainants best wishes in the Honor Court. No doubt the thieves will get off scot free, but it's worth a shot.

    File this whole episode under "what if conservatives had done it to liberals." They'd be called brownshirts — and rightly so. Yet if the perps are leftists and the victims are conservative, the administration yawns and puts a little rebuke in perps' files.

  20. pyelena Reply

    the language in the DTH's article about it still doesn't cease to amaze me.
    and others, not connect with CR, who read the article felt it made the whole incident sound laughable….
    prime example, "The pictures show the three students holding Pabst Blue Ribbon beer while painting a room with Carolina Review copies protecting the floor from the paint."

    First, why does the brand of beer they're drinking MATTER?
    Second, "proTECTING the FLOOR?" haha are you kidding me? as if that was their sole aim when choosing to destroy the journals. "oh, we just needed something to protect the floor!" so innocent.
    you use that kind of wording and anything sounds dumb.

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