UR Mail Services staff met with environmental safety officials Wednesday to review procedures relating to suspicious letters and packages.

Despite recent anthrax infections in other parts of the country, Manager of University Mail Services Mark Goodrich said that he doesn?t think anthrax is a threat to UR. ?Most of us are really not very concerned about it,? he said. ?We were more concerned before Ted Kaczynski was caught.? Kaczynski was convicted as the ?Unabomber? in 1994. He targeted members of the academic research community with mail bombs.

Environmental safety officer Janet Ives talked at the meeting about biological threats, and distributed a response plan. ?On Sept. 11, things became a whole lot more real to all of us,? she said. ?After Sept. 11, we have a whole new respect for this stuff.?

Ives said that an anthrax attack in Rochester is unlikely. ?Rochester is a fairly low-risk city,? she said. ?It?s not New York City or Washington, D.C.?

Ives said it was important not to panic. ?I?ve been called out for baby powder on a toilet in a women?s bathroom,? she said. ?Is it possible that?s anthrax? Yes, anything?s possible. But we need to stay calm.?

Goodrich?s department at 1510 Mt. Hope Ave. handles all USPS mail addressed to both the River Campus and Strong Memorial Hospital.

He said that there would be no change in the way mail is handled. ?I would like to process mail the way we?ve always done, with the risks in the back of our minds,? he said. ?We can?t send 50 or 60 letters a day to be tested for anthrax. We don?t need to be panicked while doing our daily job.?

Hazardous waste chemist Brad Miller talked at the meeting about chemical threats. ?Besides the biological attacks that have dominated the news, there are chemical issues,? he said.

Miller said a chemical attack through the mail would be less likely than a biological one. ?For a chemical agent, for the most part, fortunately, you need a large quantity of it,? he said. ?It?s probably not the weapon of choice for a terrorist.?

Vice President for Public Relations Robert Kraus said that there was no specific plan to give instructions to students on how to handle suspicious pieces of mail. ?Our goal is to get some reasonable instructions to staff who have to handle mail,? he said. ?Not that there?s any extreme likelihood, but just to be prepared.?

Mail services around the world have been on alert since recent reports of anthrax in the United States. A Florida man died Oct. 4 after being infected with an inhaled form. Thirty-one congressional staffers in Washington, D.C. tested positive for anthrax Wednesday. Cases were also reported at NBC and ABC offices.

Bock can be reached at dbock@campustimes.org.



An open letter to all members of any university community

I strongly oppose the proposed divestment resolution. This resolution is nothing more than another ugly manifestation of antisemitism at the University.

Live updates: Wallis Hall sit-ins

Editor’s Note (5/4/24): This article is no longer being updated. For our most up to date coverage, look for articles…

UR Baseball beats Hamilton and RIT

Yellowjackets baseball beat Hamilton College on Tuesday and RIT on Friday to the scores of 11–4 and 7–4, respectively.