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University of Iowa News Release

May 18, 2005

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

This morning University of Iowa President David Skorton testified 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. Skorton's prepared statement is available for download as a PDF file at

A video of Skorton's testimony also is available online on the committee's Website at (look for the May 18, 2005 archive titled "Full committee hearing. A hearing on Eco-terrorism specifically examining the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front.") To directly download the video, click

The testimony was given before the 18-member committee during hearings held 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.

CONTACTS: Media: Linda Kettner,; Writer: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007,