YSU Officials to test suspect powder

A sample of the powder has been sent to the state health lab for testing.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown State University's safety director does not think a powdery substance found in a student dormitory is anthrax, but he's still taking the discovery seriously.
"I just suspect it's probably someone trying to incite turmoil," said Len Perry, director of YSU's environmental and occupational health and safety. "I don't think we have a problem, but we're certainly treating it as one. That's the stance we've taken."
If the discovery is a hoax, Perry said, YSU police will prosecute those found responsible, and will mete out university sanctions if a student or university employee is involved.
Found in dorm: A YSU maintenance man found whitish-yellowish powder on the doorknob and floor of a maintenance room in the basement of Lyden Hall dormitory Monday, Lt. Nick Ross of campus police said.
The worker did not touch the substance. Police sealed off the area and notified Perry; Walter Duzzny, executive director of the Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency; and the Youngstown Fire Department.
"We have no idea really what it is," YSU Police Chief Jack Gocala said.
A sample has been sent to the Ohio Department of Health in Columbus. Perry said it will take four or five days to test the substance.
The maintenance room was cleaned and sanitized by the fire department's hazardous materials team.
Perry said the substance was placed on the doorknob and floor "in such a way that somebody wanted somebody to see it, which is not normally the way these types of things are dispersed if you want someone to get sick."
Spreading information: He said he had several meetings across campus Monday with workers in the university's mailroom, central receiving and other departments that handle mail and packages "to let people know that during these uncomfortable times we just need to be a little more careful."
He said he plans more campus information sessions.
"We can't afford to be in a hurry to do things anymore," he said. "We want to get packages delivered quickly around campus and we want to keep the system going, but maybe we just need to take one small step back and take a closer look at things."
Toner scare: Several hours after the powder was found in the dormitory, The Jambar, YSU's student newspaper, reported a suspicious package.
Editor Valerie Banner said the package was toner for the newspaper's laser printer. But the package had been punctured and was leaking a dark powder, so the newspaper called campus police and Perry.
Perry said his office examined the package and found the powder was substance from the toner and nothing suspicious. "I guess they were just being super-cautious," he said.