Students in the dark about Regents arson

The general consensus for the open investigation on the Regents Residential College arson case is that no one should panic.

According to the report Public Safety and Emergency Management released to students via email Oct. 16, an arson case was under investigation.

The email did not detail when or in what way arson was committed, but explained what to do in case of a fire. The email also listed the Kentucky Revised Statute in regard to arson, which describes when a person is guilty of first-degree arson.

“This includes the burning of paper advertisement on a Resident Hall bulletin board,” read the email.

The actual event occurred Oct. 6 and a report was taken Oct. 7, nearly two weeks before the email went out. The email was sent in accordance to the Michael Minger Life Safety Act and the Jeanne Clery Disclosure Act, which requires campus police to report campus crimes in a timely manner.

The burned advertisement and two smiley faces burned into the roof of an elevator in Regents are minor, said Squire Babcock, the faculty head of Regents. No matter how small the offense, Babcock said the case was treated as an arson case and should not be taken lightly.

“Of course I am concerned when there is an act involving fire in the residence hall,” Babcock said. “We want everyone to know we are taking anything involving fire very seriously, and that absolutely no act involving fire, no matter how minor, no matter how innocent the intention, will not be tolerated.”

Erin Smith, senior from Dallas, is a residential adviser in Regents. Smith said she thinks the negative publicity stirred up by the event is unwarranted. Smith said residential advisers were told little about the case, except that it was minor.

“All the publicity from this is creating this negative image for Regents,” Smith said. “It’s really not that big of a deal.”

Smith said after the email went out, residents came to her asking for information, but residetial advisors were not informed any more than other students.

Many students declined to comment when asked about the case and said they did not know enough about the event to answer.

Naomi Clark, freshman from Toledo, Ohio., and resident of Regents, said she knew only what she was told in the email from police.

“I don’t know that much,” Clark said. “But it doesn’t stress me out.”

Babcock said students and parents have remained calm throughout the incident.

“No students or parents have expressed concern to me over this, and I am confident that the residents of Regents do feel safe,” Babcock said.

Story by Amanda Grau, Assistant News Editor