The architecture building was evacuated and temporarily closed Wednesday morning after janitorial staff noticed a “slick, oily” substance splattered around various areas and floors in the building.
University spokeswoman LaNedra Carroll said shortly after 8 a.m., the workers noticed the substance spilled into the hall of the building’s main level. The workers noticed more waste as they finished with the clean up of the front hall and continued their morning maintenance. Carroll said that FAMU Police officials are treating the situation as an act of vandalism.
“It clearly doesn’t seem to be a spill,” Carroll said. “Someone took the time to splash the substance throughout the building.”
She said police are speculating the incident occurred shortly before the building was closed or sometime just after the doors were locked.
Freshman architecture student Yournesha Swain arrived at the building 15 minutes before class to find the building’s back doors locked.
“I saw a few other students in my class and we walked to the front of the building,” said the 18-year-old from Decatur, Ga. “I was thinking it was a regular fire drill.”
When she arrived at the front of the building, she saw more students who were not allowed to get into the building because of the spill.
“I just don’t understand what happened,” she said. “I think it’s a prank.”
Carroll said FAMUPD officials are looking for any tips that would lead them to the person or persons behind the incident. She said the incident received greater importance because of the heightened security following the Sept. 11 attacks.
“What might have been considered a minor act in the past we now have to take seriously,” she said.
HAZMAT, the company that handles toxic chemical and waste situations, is expected to check the building for potential dangers
“Right now, we’re waiting on the HAZMAT team to let us know what the substance is so we can determine whether or not the substance is a potential danger to students, faculty, and staff at Florida A&M University,” Carroll said.
Classes could not be rescheduled or relocated because the students need full use of the architecture studios to complete ongoing projects.
“We plan to investigate this matter fully,” said Carroll. “It’s going to take some time to clean up, but I’m hopeful that the building will reopen soon.”
Marlon A. Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org