Car Torched Outside UC President's Home

Volkswagon destroyed behind gated community

Arson investigators are investigating a car fire in Oakland.  The suspected arson is getting extra attention because it happened near the home of Mark Yudof, the president of the entire University of California system.

The FBI and ATF were called to help in the investigation.  Alameda County sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson said it appears some  sort of accelerant was used in the fire.

The car was parked across the street from where Yudof lives.    Authorities aren't saying who owns the vehicle, other than it is not Yudof.

Yudof was taken by car out of the area just before 9 a.m. Thursday, but did not talk to reporters.

He spoke in Sacramento today, but did not comment on the fire and again refused to answer questions from reporters.

The media was kept away from the scene because the fire happened behind a private gated area.

Nobody was hurt in the fire that was first reported around 1:15 a.m. 

The first call that came in to 911 reported a car bomb, according to Alameda County Sheriff's public information officer Sgt. J.D. Nelson

Reporters are only being told the car was a Volkswagen and that is was destroyed by flames.  It is not clear if the fire has any connection to the president, other than its location.

Oakland police spokesman Officer Jeff  Thomason said investigators are not yet calling the fire arson because they haven't ruled out the possibility that an electrical  problem caused the fire.

Yudof was named president of the University of California on March 27, 2008. 

 Yudof has been the target of recent protests related to tuition hikes and employee furloughs approved to offset UC's budget deficit.

The UC union commented on the incident late Thursday, saying they want Yudof to lose his job and not his car.  The statement also said the union was alarmed by the report.

"We don't know if this event was coincidental or aimed at Yudof, but if it was, we oppose actions of this sort," Carolan Buckmaster said. Buckmaster is a staff research associate and campus president of the University Professional and Technical Employees union at UC San Diego.

Buckmaster went on to say it was a shame the incident happened just days before UC employees and students are set to hold a vote of no confidence against Yudof.  

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