Update on the cat incident
This notice is to update to our community on the investigation of events that led to the report, on Dec. 2, 2001, of a mutilated dead cat on campus. While the investigators have met with and continue to answer questions, this update is an attempt to address some issues.
Three experienced UR Security supervisors have been reassigned to help with this case. An e-mail address, catcase@
security.rochester.edu, has been created for anyone wishing to give information. All leads will be pursued in due course. However, most efforts are being focused on the three priority issues or phases identified as the case develops.
The first priority is the manner of the cat’s death. Some accounts suggest the cat was found dead elsewhere and its remains were brought to the campus. Details from information received to that effect are being examined carefully.
Meanwhile, competent public authorities have conducted three examinations, each concluding that some but not all injuries were inflicted that resulted in death ? that is, inconsistent with accidental means. This part involves a possible felony.
District Attorney’s Office has been kept apprised by Humane Society and police investigators. At this point, the post-mortem exams are viewed as the more credible evidence.
The second priority involves actions by groups or individuals that led up to the cat’s remains being placed in a bag on the door of a fraternity house. A great deal has been learned about this sequence of events.
However, there are individuals who have yet to provide a full and forthright account as individual students or in concert with others. Possible links to other incidents reported during that weekend are being reviewed carefully, too.
The third priority involves witness observations and actions by groups or individuals in the sixteen-hour interval between the discovery of the cat on the door late on the morning of Dec. 1 and the first report to Security at 3:46 a.m. on Dec. 2. There are reports, some more definitive than others, about the placement and removal of the cat’s remains in trash receptacle(s), its presence on at times on walkways and grounds near various Fraternity Quad buildings and its being handled roughly by individuals or groups.
The latter set of behaviors, in particular, requires explanation and accountability. Many of the injuries documented by authorities are believed to have occurred as a result of rough handling of the animal’s remains.
Since the recent requests for help by President Jackson, Deans of The College and other campus leaders, some groups and a few individuals have come forward on their own. We are grateful for their efforts and their actions have been helpful.
However, the response has been very limited considering the number of persons who live in the Fraternity Quad neighborhood or who visited one or more of the many houses on Dec. 1 and Dec. 2.
Also, investigators are experiencing some instances in which a witness, when re-interviewed, no longer remembers the name(s) they provided in earlier conversations. A few have no recollection, now, of even being in the area at the time(s) in question.
It should be understood that investigator interview reports will be compared and contrasted in the case findings for submission to the university.
Initial interviews will be included along with later statements. so as to discern more precisely the facts, the context of evidence gathered, and the degree to which cooperation has been demonstrated in good faith.
The Office of the Dean of Students, other key leaders in The College, the Intercessor and Security staff are among the resources that remain available to discuss concerns and suggestions about the resolution of this event.
? Walter O. MauldinDirector of University Security
State of pianos is deplorable
I would like to thank Jennifer Weiss for writing the editorial in
the Feb. 7 issue about the deplorable condition of the pianos on this campus. I completely agree with her.
With the number of pianists on this campus, the state of the pianos should not be this bad. Other musicians carry their instruments with them and only need an empty room with a music stand to practice, but we pianists must rely on the university for our instruments.
As a secondary piano student, I practice mostly in Spurrier because I don’t have a key to Lower Strong. To practice, I must use two pianos ? one has
good articulation for Scarlatti and Mozart, but the damper pedal is broken, so I must use another piano with bad articulation but a working pedal to play Chopin.
This is ridiculous. Last fall I e-mailed Jean Caruso in the
music department about the condition of the Spurrier pianos.
She told me that she would look into it, but nothing has improved.
Is it too much to ask to have pianos that are in tune, have 88 keys with no parts missing and that all sound, have working pedals, benches, and aren’t in non-soundproof rooms next to rock bands?
? Katie LanderClass of 2003
As a 1994 alumnus of UR and of Alpha Phi, I wish to comment on the article you wrote for the CT Online, “Cat found mutilated at campus fraternity.” I thought that your reporting of the incident was balanced and not accusatory, but I really disagree with the comment made by freshman Steve Lega.
I do not at all believe that it is “very typical of the attitudes of the fraternities.” In fact, no fraternity I knew at UR would endorse such a behavior. It sounds like the members of SC were disgusted by the incident and want just as much as everyone else to find out who is responsible.
I cannot even imagine SC having a role in this incident. It perplexes me that they’ve been placed on probation because it’s ridiculous that they would have mauled a cat and hung it from their own front door!
Instead, it sounds to me like some kind of retaliation. I
can’t imagine a whole fraternity being in on this. It sound more like something one pissed-off, warped individual would do, maybe because he or she hates Greeks, SC or one of its members.
Incidents like this unfairly perpetuate the negative stereotypes of Greek organizations. All the good that the organizations do for the community, the campus and their own members goes out the window. As the SC president said, “Sigma Chi is about friendship, justice, learning and dignity.”
Most fraternities and sororities are concerned with philanthropy, service, learning and teaching
their members high ideals and leadership skills so they can succeed in school and in the working world.
I just wanted to put in my two cents and to indicate my deep sorrow and regret that something like this has happened at UR. The incident is sad and appalling in its own right, but it is equally sad that people cannot look beyond stereotypes and continue to judge Greek organizations unfairly for every negative thing that occurs on campus. What a pity.
? Anna ZacherClass of 1994
Make a change to Strong Auditorium
I was pleased to read your editorial entitled “Strong Problems” in the Feb.7 issue. As both a Drama House resident and board member of COPA (the
extracurricular theater group in my day), I spent a tremendous amount of my free time doing theater under circumstances that were challenging at best and potentially dangerous at worst. I even served on the committee that hired Mervyn Willis to rebuild the theater and firmly believe now as then that the time has come for a renewed commitment by the administration to the arts on the River Campus.
Do I believe that we will get the premier performing arts
center to humble other schools with more well-established programs? No, but even smaller schools like Middlebury College have proven that a well-designed
performing arts complex can enhance academic and extra-curicular
opportunities on campus, as well as serve as a cultural beacon for the community at large.
Surely a school of Rochester’s academic and fiscal caliber can lift its arts activities out of ex-dining centers like Todd Theatre. The land occupied by crumbling Strong Auditorium and non-ADA
compliant Todd Union could be used in a far more efficient
manner if the entire site were redeveloped with the same speed and enthusiasm exhibited just across the Eastman Quad by the new Simon School buildings.
Now, I know River Campus theater, art and even music do not carry the political cache of Rochester’s “core competencies” in engineering, medicine, business and (apparently) sports. I know we have to wait our turn in line. And I’ve spoken to administration officials at countless alumni events who have tossed out whitheringly large dollar figures that give one pause for thought.
But this is not a new problem and things will only get worse. Let’s not be afraid to make a start. If not us, who? If not now, when?
? Adam Konowe Class of 1990