Students, faculty and staff woke up Friday morning to an unusual email regarding a “package” that was found around 7:30 a.m. in the Palumbo Academic Center.
However, students – as the email indicated – need not fear the contents of the package, as they were nothing more than the fresh lungs of a sheep.
Ted Marnen, director of Gannon University’s Police and Safety, said that the bag with the lungs was found by Palumbo’s maintenance staff, who immediately contacted Police and Safety.
Given the organic nature of the bag’s contents, Marnen said Gannon’s police called the Erie Police Department and sent the bag to the Erie County Coroner’s office to confirm the origin of the parts.
“We notified the Erie Police Department because we were not experts in identifying body parts,” Marnen said.
“We wanted to remove all doubt that we may have had the worst-case scenario on our end — that perhaps it was some kind of human remains.”
Marnen said the situation originated from a student’s improper disposal of the lungs. Gannon’s Police and Safety identified the student through the security cameras in Palumbo.
The student went out and bought two sheep from an Amish farmer who slaughtered these sheep for him, Marnen said. The student did not know how to discard the lungs and was coming to Gannon to do other business and thought to throw them in one of the trashcans, not intending to cause harm or fear.
“The student was apologetic and did not realize he was going to cause a stir,” Marnen said. “There were no bad intentions on his part.”
Despite the assurance mentioned in the email about the safety of the contents of the package, multiple students indicated that they experienced a bit of a fright reading it, including senior theater and communication arts major Matt Germeyer.
“I think originally the package could have been a bomb,” Germeyer said. “Yet the school proceeded and resumed classes normally rather than worry about the students’ safety.
“At times I feel safe on campus, but in that particular situation, I did not feel safe.”
However, Marnen confirmed that the bag showed no indication of it being anything other than biological remains.
“If there was any danger to any student, the building would have been evacuated and classes in it would have been postponed or canceled until the situation was mitigated.” Marnen said. “I would never put students in an unsafe situation.”