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The Daily Tar Heel

Suspicious Mail Found On Campus

The manila packages sent to the deans' offices were harmless mass mailings that included journal articles.

The dean's office at the College of Arts and Sciences and the dean's office at the School of Medicine each received two 8-by-10-inch manila mailing envelopes Wednesday afternoon, said Jeff McCracken, deputy director of the Department of Public Safety.

Officials from DPS and the Department of Environment, Health and Safety responded to calls from office assistants who thought the packages were suspicious and were concerned that they might contain anthrax.

McCracken said the four similar packages did not have return addresses and that two had suspicious incorrect mailing addresses, with two labels addressed to the College of Arts and Sciences.

But he said the packages were not dangerous. "There was nothing indicating an actual threat," McCracken said. "It was a mass mailing sent out to different schools with a journal article. Unfortunately they didn't put a return address on it, and that put up a red flag for some people."

He said the packages, which were probably mailed from Santa Barbara, Calif., contained no powder. After officials examined the packages at the scene, EHS took possession of them, McCracken said.

McCracken said there have been a few other calls reporting suspicious packages being sent to the University, but he said no packages have posed a threat to health or safety.

Dianne Hill, program assistant in the College of Arts and Sciences, said the packages she received Wednesday had no zip codes, no return addresses and had labels that appeared to be from a typewriter. "It was suspicious enough for me not to open them," she said.

Maura Partrick, an office assistant for the medical school, called DPS on Wednesday after she discovered the two suspicious packages while routinely opening mail. "The packages didn't appear to be from anybody, and the label was from a typewriter," Partrick said.

Partrick said she didn't think the packages posed a serious threat but that she wanted to be on the safe side. "I know we'll never be a target, and nothing will happen here," she said.

McCracken also said the University's chances of getting targeted are minimal. "If you look at the people targeted, it's mostly upper-level media people and upper-level government representatives," he said. "We don't fall into the profile."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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