Texas Southern University sustained two incidents of arson the evening hours of Tuesday and Wednesday, November 11 and 12. Both incidents were targeted at the internal electrical power system of the University, which resulted in power outage to approximately 75% of the buildings on campus. Damage has been estimated close to $500,000.
To repair the damage, all electrical systems will be powered down at 7pm Thursday, November 13, 2008. Power will not be restored until noon on Friday, November 14, 2008.
All evening classes on Thursday and all classes and student events on Friday are cancelled. Classes scheduled for Saturday will be held as usual. Employees should return to their jobs at noon on Friday when the power is restored. Essential staff needed to protect the campus and to restore the power will work through the emergency.
Buildings supported by generators, including research areas and the student center, will remain powered throughout the emergency outage. TSU Police Chief Roger Byars has brought in all his officers and security team to provide additional protection to the vulnerable electrical sites. He has stationed officers in the dormitories to increase security for the students.
Students should monitor TSU's website at www.tsu.edu for general updates and check with the colleges and schools for updates regarding their specific classes.
Authorities think one person or group of suspects is responsible for both fires. They believe the individual responsible has knowledge of the campus electrical infrastructure, and has the expertise and proper safety equipment to commit this crime.
TSU officials are working to put enhanced security measures in place to reduce the opportunity of such events from happening again.
The TSU Police Department is working closely with the Houston Arson Bureau on this case. Other state and federal agencies may become involved as the case evolves. Several "persons of interest" have been identified. Officials are conducting interviews to determine what, if any, knowledge they may have of the incident or information of a suspect. We are currently following up on some unconfirmed leads and are confident that we will bring this case to a close with the prosecution of the actor.
Texas Southern University wants students, faculty, staff and the community to know they will do everything within their power to continue to provide services. If you have any information of the incident, you're asked to contact the Texas Southern University Police Department at 713-313-7001.
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