Statement of Dr. Robert Jennings, President, Lincoln University Regarding Rumors about August 8 Unoccupied Building Fire

Several rumors have surrounded the cause of an August 8th fire that damaged the unoccupied ‘Building No.15,’ a former residence hall neighboring the Bond House along Baltimore Pike.  Built in 1868, the five-bedroom building had been closed for several years.

Prior to my Administration, the University had allowed the Oxford Fire Department to use that building for ladder exercises, a practice which ceased last Fall. However, under no circumstances was this building or any other campus building ever used in any Fire Department training exercises or controlled burns that would jeopardize the safety of our students, the community at large, or risk damaging any of our historic buildings.

While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, Pennsylvania State Police had determined that a couch sitting on the west side of house was the source of the fire.  It is unclear whether the fire was an accident or intentional, but a group of students was observed earlier walking from the area.

We urge the Lincoln University community, its students, faculty and alumni to cease from relying on or sharing any hearsay or statements that do not originate from the University’s Office of Communications and Public Relations.  Such practices are irresponsible and threaten to damage both the University’s image and reputation both among the Lincoln University community and general public.

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