An employee at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee is being investigated after she was seen throwing away dozens of copies of a local gay newspaper from a communal area.

The unnamed woman was seen on CCTV taking the papers from a news-stand area for students and throwing them into rubbish bins on two separate occasions.

Nashville’s WSMV described her as a long-standing employee of the university, which was founded by Cornelius Vanderbilt in the 19th century.

Patrick Armstrong, the editor of the local gay title, Out & About, said the mystery of disappearing copies of the newspaper had been going on for a year.

The paper, formerly free, began charging 50 cents a copy so the police could investigate the missing copies as criminal incidents. Mr Armstrong said if it continued they could sue the woman, a lab manager at the university, for theft.

The university told WSMV: “The matter is under internal review to determine if there is any need for further action by Vanderbilt. We recognize that this is a particularly sensitive issue and want to assure our campus is a safe and welcoming environment.”