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University of Iowa News Release

May 16, 2005

Skorton To Testify Before U.S. Senate Committee On Seashore Break-in

On Wednesday, University of Iowa President David Skorton is scheduled to testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in Washington D.C. about last year's vandalism of Seashore Hall and Spence Laboratories.

The 18-member committee is holding hearings to examine eco-terrorism, specifically actions by the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) chairs the committee, and U.S. Sen. James Jeffords (I-Vt.) is the ranking minority member.

The UI closed Seashore Hall and Spence Laboratories for several weeks after a Nov. 14, 2004 break-in during which vandals released animals, damaged computers and spilled chemicals, causing $450,000 in damage in the university's Department of Psychology. Members of ALF, a loose confederation of people opposed to the use of animals in laboratory testing, subsequently claimed responsibility for the break-in.

At the time of the break-in, Seashore Hall and Spence Labs housed the Department of Psychology, the UI School of Journalism, the Department of Sociology, and the UI's Audiovisual Center, Internal Audit Office and the Ombudspersons Office. All of the departments and offices have since returned, with the exception of the journalism program, which relocated this spring as previously scheduled into the new Adler Journalism and Mass Communication Building.

The UI Police Department is continuing to work with the FBI to develop leads in the case. In March, the FBI issued a sketch of a woman the agency believed might be linked to the break-in. The sketch depicted a white female in her late teens to early 20s, 5-foot-2 inches to 5-foot-6 inches tall, with dark hair and a light or fair complexion. She last was seen wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, light brown or khaki pants, white tennis shoes and a light blue plastic wristwatch.

The UI also continues to offer a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the vandalism. Anyone with information should contact the FBI at 319-366-2461, or by email at

STORY SOURCE: University Relations, 101 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1316.

MEDIA CONTACT: Linda Kettner,; Writer: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007,