Copyright 1993 Phoenix Newspapers, Inc.
THE PHOENIX GAZETTE
June 29, 1993 Tuesday, Final
SECTION: FRONT; Pg. A4
LENGTH: 548 words
HEADLINE: MAIL BOMBS PUT UNIVERSITIES ON NOTICE ; STATE SCHOOLS WARN FACULTY TO BE CAUTIOUS
BYLINE: By Victor Dricks, THE PHOENIX GAZETTE Includes information from the San Francisco Chronicle.
Faculty at Arizona's three public universities are being warned to be cautious when opening mail after two mail bomb attacks on researchers in other parts of the nation.
Michael Cusanovich, vice president for research at the University of Arizona, said an advisory has been sent to all faculty, suggesting they take special precautions.
"We take this very seriously," he said. "These are real events. I guess it's the price of doing business in a modern society."
Similar advisories were being issued Monday at research institutes, universities and colleges throughout the nation.
The FBI also issued an advisory to potential targets to be on the lookout for letters or parcels with restrictive markings such as "confidential," "personal" or "eyes only."
FBI officials say other telltale signs of a letter bomb may include excessive postage, a foreign postmark, handwritten or poorly typed addresses, an incorrect title, misspellings of common words, oily stains or discolorations on envelopes or packages, heavy or unbalanced-appearing envelopes, and protruding wires, tape or string on packages.
Bill Bess, director of the Department of Public Safety at Arizona State University, said faculty members have been notified about the recent attacks and are being urged to use special caution as they deal with mail they receive at home or the university.
Northern Arizona University officials said they are taking similar precautions.
ASU microbiologist Moshe Raccach said he was concerned by the mail bombings, but not unduly alarmed.
"I will keep my eyes open for strange-looking mail," Raccach said. "If something comes, and I don't know what it is, I will turn it over to DPS here.
"I really have never thought of my work putting me at risk. But I am now."
An advisory was issued to all 1,778 ASU faculty members through the provost's office and transmitted to faculty Monday via their computers.
Chester Leathers, a professor emeritus of microbiology at ASU, said the mail bombings have given him cause for concern.
"Most of us have gotten letters from disgruntled students over the years, but this is much more significant," he said. "Any packages arriving at this time that were not solicited are suspect."
Leathers noted, however, that the likelihood of being singled out is so low that the matter probably is not worth losing sleep over.
Nevertheless, ASU officials are warning faculty to be especially vigilant.
"I have spoken with the FBI Phoenix office, and they have requested that our mail service and faculty members be on the alert for the potential receipt of letter bombs since ours is a major research institution," Bess said in a letter to the provost's office.
The FBI believes that mail bomb explosions that injured a leading University of California-San Francisco medical geneticist in Tiburon, Calif., and a prominent computer scientist at Yale may be linked to the nationwide UNABOM package bombings from 1978 to 1987.
If there are firm links to UNABOM -- the name the FBI has given to the 14 bombings targeting universities and computer-related businesses -- "that will come from the evidence," FBI Director William Sessions said.
The earlier bombings killed one man and injured 21 others.