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Shepherd College says students' clothes were not thrown out

April 10, 2004|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

Shepherdstown, W.Va.

A rumor that Shepherd College tore up and threw out clothing belonging to students living at Thacher and Shaw halls is not true, a college official said Friday.

The torn clothes were rags used to help decontaminate the dormitories from asbestos, Sharon Kipetz, the vice president of student affairs, said.

Certain student possessions were inadvertently thrown out, too, but were recovered, Kipetz said.

Students last month were cleared from both dormitories for the rest of the semester after traces of asbestos were found in a dusty clump on a desk in Shaw Hall.

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Subsequent air quality tests found two asbestos fibers in Shaw Hall and none in Thacher Hall, according to the college.

On Friday, someone sent The Herald-Mail an e-mail saying that students had gathered at an outside trash container at 1 a.m., "shocked" to find personal belongings "overflowing" from it.

One student saw her comforter hanging from the trash container and another student found a ring, the e-mail alleged.

It also alleged that "children's drawings, poems, photos, receipts" and more were found, as well as "ripped clothes and shoes."

However, the college posted a statement at its Web site saying, "There is NO truth to the rumor that student clothing has been destroyed."

Spoiled food items filled up most of the bags thrown into the trash container, Kipetz said. The college has been photographing each food item so that it can figure out how much to reimburse students, she said.

Kipetz said the company decontaminating the dorms accidentally included some personal possessions in bags that were thrown away. Those bags were retrieved.

Kipetz said a few photographs were among those items. They will be cleaned and returned to their owners, she said.

She said she hasn't been able to verify the discarded comforter rumor.

Kipetz said the decontamination is going as planned, which would allow the dorms to reopen in the fall.

The work is expected to cost as much as $2 million, she said.

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