Pepper spray cause of Student Union evacuation
Substance was sprayed on accident
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012 18:09
On Monday just before 3:30 p.m., the Student Union was evacuated due to the accidental release of a self-defense chemical in the air outside of Subway.
“No ill will. It did not appear to be a prank,” said Community Relations Supervisor Jeanette Emert of the UCF Police Department.
According to the Emert, once the police department was alerted that a substance was loose in the Student Union affecting passersby, they worked with the Student Union officials and employees to empty the building until they could confirm it was safe.
“Slowly they kept moving us back. We heard that something was sprayed inside that something was sprayed in the hallway,” said Raouf Sattaur, senior creative writing major and Subway employee.
At the time, Student Union employees and police officers called to the scene were unable to confirm the identity of the chemical or the source of the spray. It was only speculated that pepper spray was the cause.
The female student who sprayed the substance attempted to speak with Student Union employees but was ushered out of the building during the evacuation, so she waited until she could speak to law enforcement.
“She said that it was an accident. She saw what she thought was a perfume thing on her friend’s keychain and sprayed it, not realizing that it was a pepper spray because it was pink,” Emert said. “She contacted the police, doing the right thing, as soon as she was able to.”
Student Union operations ceased for about 45 minutes before reopening to the public again.
Once the UCF Police Department, in conjunction with the Student Union, Orange County Fire Department, UCF Environmental Health and Safety as well as UCF Emergency Management, could verify the air quality and safety of the building, everyone was free to go back to their regular tasks.
Furthermore, there were no reported injuries or complications as a result of the incident.
Anyone exposed and reacting at the time, “the fire department checked and cleared,” Emert said.
According to UCF Policy 3-119 outlining weapons on campus and at university events, self-defense sprays are allowed on campus if used in “lawful self-defense that is compact in size…and contains not more than two ounces of chemical.”