Hooded vandals in Chile have set ablaze a car owned by the rector of the prestigious University of Santiago.

Rector Juan Manuel Zolezzi tells local station Radio Cooperativa that six suspects broke the Volvo's windows Tuesday, sprayed it with gas and set it on fire in a university parking lot just minutes after he walked into his office. He dismissed the idea that university students carried out the attack, instead blaming "an extremist group."

Zolezzi and his counterpart at the University of Chile were the only rectors in the South American country to openly support mass student protests last year that forced President Sebastian Pinera to change his agenda and focus on education reforms.

Government officials and student protest leader Camila Vallejo have condemned the attack.