According to a preliminary police report, at 3pm this afternoon a resident of Fenner Hall received an unexpected package, which he proceeded to open inside the Fenner Hall Common Room. Upon opening, “an unidentified white substance appears to have discharged out of the package, covering the student’s face and the surrounding furniture,” said the report.
Having witnessed the event, fellow students informed reception staff of the situation, who inspected the site and instructed the student to “remain still”. Dr Jasmine Jury, Head of Fenner Hall, was subsequently advised of the situation.
“I am required to immediately inform the Facilities & Services Division of the ANU in the event of potentially hazardous substances being released into residential environment, particularly since we don’t have the capacity for containment,” said Dr Jury.
Christine Allard, Director of Facilities & Services, provided Woroni with information as to the protocol followed.
“We have informed ACT Health as well as the Australian Federal Police of the situation. They have in turn made the decision to declare all of Fenner Hall a quarantine zone until they’re able to confidently identify the substance. They’ve estimated this will take 10 to 15 days,” she said. “Further, if the substance is identified to be hazardous, the college will be quarantined indefinitely until the ACT HAZMAT Response Unit declares it habitable.”
In response to the displacement of over 500 ANU students, Dr Jury informed this newspaper that Fenner Hall is “working together with ANUSA, the ANU and the ACT Government to formulate a durable solution to the issue.”
“In the meantime and until we come up with a more permanent alternative, the Federal Government has offered to relocate all 500 students to their state-of-the-art facilities on Manus Island,” said Dr Jury.
“We have accepted the offer.”