The Miami Report

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Miami University
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Suspicious letter a reminder to follow established procedures

Miami has already experienced one scare involving a letter from overseas and more such incidents are possible.

International programs last week received a letter from Algeria that had a suspicious stain, which staff initially thought might be a powdery substance. This proved to be unfounded, but Miami police were contacted Oct. 31. Police, following established protocols, called the Butler County Health Department, which collected the letter.

The suspicious letter turned out to be a request for information from a prospective student, which although it had no return address on the envelope included an e-mail address in the letter itself. Miami receives about 12,000 admission inquiries annually from international students.

Last week’s incident points out the need for everyone handling mail to know what to do if they, too, receive a suspicious letter, said Cathryn House, Miami’s director of safety and chief of police.

"Miami is following protocols and procedures established by the FBI, Centers for Disease Control and the Ohio Health Department," said House. "If you receive a suspicious package or letter, don’t open it. Call 911."

The site includes basic guidelines as well as links to Web sites maintained by the FBI and Centers for Disease Control with more detailed information.

Anita Byrd, supervisor of campus mail services, also warns of mail delays. Any mail coming from the east coast or from other countries may take an additional 10 days for delivery while all other mail may take an additional three or four days.

For more information about how to deal with mail or any suspected incident of bioterrorism, click on the news item labeled "Terrorist attacks — Miami’s continuing response" on Miami’s home page at www.muohio.edu.

Date Published: 11/08/2001
Volume: 21   Number: 15

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