Man Charged for Haskell Tipi Fire

A Kansas man has been charged in connection with a fire that damaged a ceremonial tipi at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence.

Thirty-two-year-old Ryan Simpson, of Lawrence, was charged with arson – a felony – and two counts of misdemeanor criminal trespassing, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

Jail records list Simpson as American Indian.

The tipi, which was built to honor the 2020 graduating class at Haskell, was destroyed by fire early on May 9 at the school’s campus in Lawrence.

A fundraiser, started with a goal of $3,000 to cover the costs of a new tipi, collected more than $15,000 within a couple of days.

The Haskell Foundation is hoping to use the surplus in its Student Emergency Fund, according to a Facebook post from the organization.

The Lawrence-Douglas County fire department said that the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were helping with the investigation.