Posted Nov.2, 2001

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Nov. 2 update issued on safety and security measures

The following memo was sent to all students, faculty and staff on Nov. 2 from Vice President for Finance and Administration Richard Spies, who chairs the University's emergency response and emergency preparedness task forces.

Earlier this week, an e-mail was distributed to all students, faculty and staff encouraging them to regularly check the University home page, the crisis response Web site and the Web site of the emergency preparedness task force for frequently updated information on steps being taken to address concerns about recent developments regarding anthrax and other possible terrorist threats. This email summarizes some of the steps that have been taken and refers you to other helpful information. Please continue to check these three Web sites regularly.


  • The main Princeton post office in West Windsor remains closed, and testing of the site is continuing. In addition to the initial finding of a small amount of anthrax in a mail bin, one additional sample at the site produced a positive result. Additional samples have been taken at the West Windsor facility and the results are now being analyzed. In the meantime, the post office has established temporary facilities and is now delivering mail that never circulated through the closed facility. Trained University mail handlers are sorting and delivering this new mail, but any mail that arrived in bulk before October 29 is still being held out of the delivery process.
  • More than 300 members of the University community have participated in mail handling training sessions. Participation has been required for staff members who handle mail in bins, bags or other bulk containers. Three more training sessions have been scheduled to take place in Frist 302 at noon Tuesday, Nov. 6; noon Wednesday, Nov. 7; and noon Friday, Nov. 9.
  • Only full-time and permanent part-time employees who have received training may distribute bulk mail. Other part-time employees, including students, may not engage in mail distribution at least through November 9. This policy has been adopted to be sure that mail handling is done safely and in a well-supervised manner. Exceptions will be made only in cases where training has taken place and proper supervision can be assured. If you are a supervisor and have questions regarding exceptions, please contact your Human Resources region manager.
  • Individual recipients of mail should continue to review the updated advisory on opening mail and exercise caution. The basic guidelines are to be alert for anything suspicious, open mail away from your face, and wash your hands with soap and flowing water after handling mail. If you have cuts on your hands, it may be prudent to wear gloves.
  • The advice we have received from state officials is that the risk of University mail being contaminated is very small. They have advised against testing campus mailrooms or providing preventative treatment (antibiotics) to healthy members of the University community. The Emergency Preparedness Task Force is in frequent contact with state officials and other experts for the most up-to-date guidance.
  • Students, faculty and staff can assist during these challenging times by being patient with delays in mail delivery and by reducing the amount of mail being generated. Please communicate electronically whenever possible.
  • The Admission Office has announced that it plans to be flexible with respect to the Nov. 1 deadline for early admission applications .


  • All members of the University community are advised to be attentive to changes in their personal health. Students with skin ulcerations or rashes or “flu-like” symptoms -- fever, chills, cough, headache, difficulty breathing, muscle ache -- should seek medical evaluation at McCosh Health Center; faculty or staff with such symptoms should consult their personal physicians.
  • The University is providing free flu shots to all interested students, faculty and staff. A walk-in clinic is being held 1 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, in Frist.


  • The Emergency Preparedness Task Force is holding daily meetings to assess the latest developments both on and off campus.
  • Security in lab areas has been tightened. There is no research involving anthrax at Princeton University.
  • Suspicious mail or activity on campus should be reported immediately to Public Safety by calling 911.
  • This is an especially important time to avoid pranks, hoaxes or inadvertent causes for alarm. Please review the University policy on pranks and hoaxes and please clean up all spills that you may have made.
  • As reported earlier, tests of the powdery substance found in Frist on October 22 were negative, which means no anthrax was detected.

Please continue to check the websites listed above, including the Frequently Asked Questions, for additional and updated information. The special response number also continues to be available at 258-7700.


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© 2001 The Trustees of Princeton University  Last modified 11/2/01