AUSTIN, Texas—Students at The University of Texas at Austin have returned to the Moore-Hill Dormitory following their evacuation last night while health officials sanitized an area where a powdered substance was found.
None of the students and staff potentially exposed to the powder, which preliminary tests have identified as ricin, is exhibiting any symptoms. The university remains open and operations will continue as usual.
A student reported finding the substance in the dormitory, which houses about 400 students, on Thursday, Feb. 23 to the university police department. University Environmental Health and Safety responded, sanitized the area, collected the powder and sent it to a state lab for testing. Additional testing is being conducted on the substance.
The university is working with the Joint Terrorism Task Force and other law enforcement and public health entities. A preliminary investigation by law enforcement is under way.
The area of the dormitory where the powder was found has been isolated to collect further evidence.
“When faced with an incident like this the university’s highest priority is the safety of our students,” said William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin. “We’ve taken every precaution to ensure our students’ health and safety are protected.”
Students and staff with questions about or concerns that they may be having symptoms of exposure to ricin may call a hotline established by Travis County Health and Human Services. The phone number is 512-974-2327.