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University community concerned by act of arson
February 16, 1998

UConn police received a report early Tuesday morning that material on a bulletin board in the Drama/Music Building had been set on fire.

Police, who received the report at 1:38 a.m., said that material on a bulletin board attached to an office door, a piece of paper attached to the wall adjacent to that office, and material hung on a second bulletin board further down the corridor from the office had been burned.

Police said since certain material on the bulletin board on the office door and possibly on the second bulletin board in the corridor pertained to gay and lesbian issues, the investigation will include follow up on the possibility that gay/lesbian groups are being targeted.

The office door belongs to Timothy Saternow, an assistant professor of dramatic arts who is co-chair of a University subcommittee for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

Chancellor Mark Emmert said, "A university is a place that must allow all points of view to be expressed and in which the intellectual and physical safety of all must be assured. Acts of arson, such as the burning of informational materials, are abhorrent violations of these principles and will not be condoned."

The person who reported the fire had been working in the building, smelled smoke and put out the fire before police and fire personnel arrived. Damage was limited to the material on the bulletin board and the bulletin board itself.

Police said the person who called them reported that he had seen an unknown person in the building approximately 15 minutes prior to discovering the fire. He described the person as a white male, tall, thin build, about 40 years old, dark, medium length hair, wearing a dark sport coat. Police would like to talk to this person as a possible witness.

Anyone with information concerning this incident is encouraged to call the UConn Police Department at (860) 486-4800.

Sherry Fisher