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Volume 97, Issue 46
PERMIT No. 250
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
BusinessAdvertising 962-1 1 63
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By AMY WAJDA
Assistant University Editor
University police removed three
officers from active duty last week
pending completion of an investigation
of theft of University property.
One of the employees, Michael P.
Curtis, 41, a police dispatcher, and his
wife Nancy, 43, were found dead of
shotgun wounds the evening of Sept. 6
in a wooded area behind their mobile
home at the Crawford Trailer Park on
N.C. Highway 54.
Orange County Sheriffs Department
Sgt. Royce Tripp said that two shot
guns were found at the scene and that
the couple's will and testament was
found on a tabletop in their home.
No note referring to the deaths was
found in the couple's home, he said.
In a telephone interview Sunday,
Tripp said he could not say that the
deaths were suicides until the medical
examiner's report had been released. "I
can't conclude this until I have some
A neighbor questioned after the
bodies were found said she heard two
shots the morning of Sept. 6, Tripp
University Police Chief Charles
Mauer confirmed Sunday that Curtis
had been suspended earlier that day
because of the investigation.
A statement issued by University
police Sept. 7 said that the department
and the State Bureau of Investigation
were investigating the theft of about
$4,000 of University property, and that
no charges had been filed.
Mauer and Robert Sherman, UNC
director of public safety, would not
comment further on the investigation
when contacted Sunday.
By NANCY WYKLE
Venable Hall will reopen today for
classes after hours of cleanup efforts
following a chemical fire in the base
ment, UNC officials said Friday.
The fire, which started Sept. 5 around
12:20 p.m., was contained to a room
used for the storage and packaging of
hazardous and radioactive chemicals.
Insurance agents investigated the
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By MIKE SUTTON
The Zeta Psi fraternity house,
which suffered substantial damage
in a fire Thursday morning, had been
scheduled for inspection by fire
marshals within the next two to three
weeks, a fire department official said
Chapel Hill Fire Marshal Joe
Robertson said the house had not
been inspected since September
1988, when several violations were
noted and corrected.
"We didn't have enough smoke
detectors and fire extinguishers (in
September 1988)," said Zeta Psi
President Spence Whitman. The fire
code requires fire extinguishers on
every floor and smoke detectors in
Whitman said that extra smoke
detectors and extinguishers had been
installed and that he had consulted
with fire marshals two weeks ago to
ensure the building met fire code
specifications this year.
Robertson said that the fire de
partment always gave fraternities and
sororities several weeks to settle in
and clean up their houses and that
the violations were routine.
"There were violations, just like
any building you go into in the town,"
he said. "There's not many build
ings that the assistant fire marshal
and I go into that don't have viola
tions. You're not human if you don't
have safety violations.
"It's up to us to find them and
correct them. That's the secret."
Robertson said the fire was caused
by a short circuit in an extension
cord connected to a refrigerator in
amount of damage the fire caused to
equipment Friday, said Brenda Morri
son, administrative assistant in the
Office of Health and Safety.
Although some computers were
damaged by smoke, the damage was
much less than expected, Morrison said.
In a statement issued Sunday, James
T. Mergner, associate director of utili
ties operations for UNC, estimated
We can't all and
the fraternity custodian's first-floor
room. "That ignited the carpet, the bed
and the structure, apparently in that
order." The fire spread quickly, he said.
Whitman said electricity and build
ing code inspectors gave the house a
clean bill of health about a week and a
Dollar estimates for the damage are
not yet available, he said. The second
and third floors and the roof are par
tially collapsed, and building inspec
tors ordered the house boarded up
Whitman said that the fraternity had
$150,000 in fire insurance, but that
fund-raisers and alumni donations
might be needed to supplement that and
cover construction costs. Although
several contractors have been consulted,
no timetable has been established for
reopening the house.
Lauch Walton, a representative from
the national chapter of Zeta Psi, stopped
by the house Thursday and helped set
up a $2,000 scholarship fund for the
nine members who lived there. The
fund will help them purchase new course
books and pay for living arrangements.
Zeta Psi alumni began calling to offer
donations within hours after the fire
was extinguished, Whitman said.
Most of the displaced Zeta Psi
members are staying with friends,
Whitman said. UNC housing director
Wayne Kuncl said one student had made
an inquiry about buying a one-semester
"It's rough," said Deborah Alston,
cook at the Zeta Psi house for six years.
"They're going to have to hollow the
whole thing out; start from the bottom
to the top."
Zeta Psi member William Thoma-
damage to the building and cleanup
costs to be $250,000.
Cleanup costs and damage to sensi
tive scientific equipment were the great
est loss caused by the fire, said Bobby
Wilson, acting director of the Health
and Safety Office.
The main problems now are the odor
and soot, Wilson said. The chemistry
department is being cautious in its
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to a49-7trounding of the Keydets. See page 1 0 for
complete sports coverage.
some of us don't.
son, who lives off campus, said,
"There's a skylight for half of the top
Another member, Bradley King, said
at least half the house was destroyed.
"Everybody lost everything, pretty
much. I saw guys wearing shirts last
night (Thursday) that reeked of smoke.
Some guys on the far side of the house
saved some stuff, but everything was
pretty much destroyed."
Whitman, who lived on the third
floor and escaped with the clothes on
his back and a few small personal pos
sessions he carried out, said, "I lost
everything: my stereo, TV, all my course
books, some personal money, couches,
"It was kind of a panicky scene. It
was 5:45 (a.m.) and still dark outside.
The electricity had blown, so it was
dark inside as well. Everyone was
banging into each other."
Whitman said he woke to hear the
custodian screaming and the fire alarms
going off. He grabbed a fire extin
guisher and ran down the hall, banging
it on the heavy wooden bedroom doors
in an attempt to wake everyone up.
"It was really, really hot. I remember
the heat (but) the darkness was the
worst part." Whitman said he ran out
side and around to a side porch.
"I jumped over a wrought-iron rail
ing onto the fire-escape, and went back
in there through a window. I opened the
door leading to the hallway where the
fire was. The fire rushed down the
hallway at me and I had to back out. I
think the fire got through the ceiling by
"Once it got up to the second floor
it's entirely a wooden-frame room there
the fire tore it all apart. It was scary."
decision to reopen the building to stu
dents, he said.
"They don't want anyone to be both
ered by any lingering odors."
Glaxo Inc. laboratories, directly
above the room where the fire was,
received most of the damage, said
Eugene Irene, vice chairman of the
chemistry department. Damage esti
mates from Glaxo were not available.
Summer sexual assault figures
show 'discrepancies in reports
By JESSICA LANNiNG
Assistant City Editor
Chapel Hill Police Department offi
cials are reporting an increase in sexual
assaults this summer, but statistics from
other groups indicate this summer's
assault numbers are normal.
From May 1989toJuly 1989, Chapel
Hill police received reports of 75 as
saults, five of which were sexual as
saults on females, said Jane Cousins,
Chapel Hill police planner. Last sum
mer, the police reported 62 assaults
with three assaults on females.
"It has been an unfortunately busy
summer for sexual assaults," Cousins
said. In two of the cases the attacker
entered the victim's home but did not
sexually assault the woman.
"This is where the man is standing in
the victim's room, she wakes up,
screams, and the attacker leaves,"
Cousins said. The police include those
cases in their reports on the assumption
that sexual assault was the suspect's
The assailants have all been strang
ers; many of them have entered the
victim's homes through unlocked doors
or windows; and many attacks have
occurred in apartment complexes, she
When the attacks were frequent this
summer, the police assigned extra pa
trols and used media and newsletters to
alert people living near where an attack
occurred, Cousins said.
Kristina Groover, coordinator of
community education for the Orange
County Rape Crisis Center, said the
center's statistics did not indicate an
increase in sexual assaults this sum
mer. "We have a fairly uniform number
of cases," she said. From April to
August, the center reports 53 assaults
for 1988 and 52 for 1989 with these
numbers including rapes, sexual as
saults and child sexual abuse.
That 's all there
Thursday's Zeta Psi fire left this
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to reopen today
The building was opened to faculty
and staff at noon Friday, but classes
could not be held because they might
have interfered with the cleanup, he
One room was open for classes Fri
day, said Laurel Evers, a sophomore
The building smelled like formal
dehyde when her Chemistry 1 1 class
met Friday in Venable, she said. Al
" We have a fairly
uniform number of
Groover said the center worked as a
"clearing house," compiling statistics
from several sources for the county.
These numbers don't reflect the num
ber of clients that come to the center.
"Our reporting tends to be more
uniform," she said. "Many communi
ties show a rise of cases during the
The numbers may be more uniform
because many students leave Chapel
Hill in May, Groover said.
"The UNC campus is a high-risk
setting and people of college age are
high risk, particularly new students."
There has been a steady upward trend
over the past years in the number of
sexual assaults that are reported, but
Groover said she didn't know whether
it was because there were more assaults
or because more people were aware
there was help available.
"There's more education. It's some
thing that victims can come forward
with and get help for."
When there are frequent attacks on a
neighborhood or other patterns, the
x center gets actively involved, Groover
said. "We certainly work cooperatively
with the police when they're trying to
pinpoint a suspect."
Groover said the center urged pre
vention and education and encouraged
people to sponsor programs to educate
Sgt. Ned Comar of the University
police said that there were only three
assaults this summer, but that they were
not sexual assaults.
is to it. Eeyore
firefighter covered with ashes
though the building carried a strange
odor, there seemed to be no other side
effects, she said.
"If they let us in, they must have
done pretty thorough testing because
the people here know what they're
doing. I think it's safe."
The cause of the fire still has not
been determined, officials said. No one.
was injured in the fire.
"That's about normal. We don't have
a lot of assaults on this campus."
Comar said these numbers were
surprising considering the number of
people who live in Chapel Hill and the
number of people who commute to
"With all this potential you would
think we would have more assaults
than we do. We don't know why."
Comar cited only two reported rapes
on campus over the last two years, but
that does not include blind reports, he
said. "Some of these things that really
are rapes aren't reported."
Campus police report 5 1 non-sexual
assaults over the last two years, and
Comar said students should be warned
that assault can result in a criminal
record that may endanger a student's
"Whether you're tipsy or you're
sober, you've got to learn to keep your
hands to yourself and take a lot of oral
No trades for grades
New state law makes paying
for better grades illegal 3
Guarding your goods
University groups work to
prevent on-campus theft ....4
Rising fame doesn't trouble
band's live performance 5
State and national 3
City and university 4
Sports Monday 10
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