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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 18, 2004

Skorton Issues Statement On Seashore Hall Vandalism

NOTE: University of Iowa President David Skorton issued the following statement to faculty, students and staff on Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Dear University of Iowa colleagues:

The University of Iowa is a community of learning, scholarship and service, in which we all exercise our passions for inquiry, discovery, and creativity.

This is why I am both saddened and angered by the vandalism earlier this week in Seashore Hall and in Spence Laboratories. Although we do not yet know the entire extent of the physical damage to the offices and laboratories of our colleagues in the Department of Psychology, nor the damage this incident has done to the important research being conducted, there is no question that these acts were intended to impede scholarship and to inflict emotional harm on the people who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit and creation of new knowledge.

I condemn the attacks in the strongest terms as antithetical to our mission of the discovery and dissemination of new knowledge. And I say, also in the strongest terms, that we will not be intimidated by acts of violence.

I offer our colleagues my sympathy, and I pledge to make available all of the resources at our command in order to allow them to renew their scholarly and creative endeavors in a safe environment.

I greatly appreciate the patience and the creativity of our faculty, staff and student colleagues in Seashore Hall and Spence Labs. In addition to those in the Department of Psychology, the people in the Department of Sociology and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, as well as several administrative and other offices, have been forced to deal with the serious inconvenience of not having access to their offices and classrooms at a critical point in this semester. I am mindful that these three academic departments of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are responsible for teaching thousands of students every semester. We will work as expeditiously as possible to allow you back into your campus homes.

I want to thank the many University offices and outside agencies that have worked overtime to help us deal with this incident. Thanks to the Iowa City Police and Fire Departments, the Hazardous Materials Response Teams from the National Guard and from Johnson County, the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation, the FBI, Per Mar Security Service, the UI Police, and the Health Protection Office. Special thanks are due to the Office of Space Planning and Utilization for helping relocate classes.

Finally, if you have any information that would be useful to this investigation, please call the FBI office in Cedar Rapids, 319-366-2461 or e-mail to

We must, and we will, use our problem-solving skills to prevail over the challenges that confront us as an educational institution as a result of this vandalism.  We will emerge from this incident with an even stronger resolve to continue our scholarly and creative endeavors.

David Skorton

STORY SOURCE: University Relations, 101 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1000.

MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Parrott,, phone 319-335-0552, cell 319-530-6972