October 15, 2001
Substance found in campus envelope turns out to be harmless
To: The UCSC Community
Fr: Chancellor Greenwood
Working in the Porter College mailroom this morning, an alert staff member of the
college observed that an envelope contained granules of an undetermined substance.
She reported that the envelope, which had arrived on campus via the U.S. Postal Service,
had been addressed to a Porter student.
The employee immediately reported the incident, and our Police, Fire, and Environmental
Health & Safety Offices responded quickly to the scene.
We have just learned that this incident resulted from an action intended as a joke
between friends; a student has come forward and admitted to placing laundry detergent
inside the envelope.
While we now know the staff member was not exposed to a dangerous substance, I would
like you to know how seriously this incident was taken--and also what it took to
respond to a threat of this nature:
- The staff member was transported to the Student Health Center, where she was
evaluated and released.
- The matter was reported to the FBI office in San Francisco, and that office dispatched
an agent to the scene.
- We contacted other public health agencies to consult with them on appropriate
health and safety procedures, including the Director of Hospital Epidemiology and
Infection Control at UC San Francisco.
- As a precaution, we shut down the Porter building's ventilation system and evacuated
and cordoned off that area of the college.
- We temporarily suspended operations of all student mail services.
- The dining hall at Porter was closed temporarily. (Students were redirected to
College Eight for dinner Monday night.)
I would like to commend the staff member for her swift action in this matter and
I greatly appreciate the quick response of emergency staff personnel. Their collective
response is an indication of just how prepared we are for such incidents.
M.R.C. Greenwood, Chancellor