CNU fraternity house still off-limits 11 days after hazmat situation

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Frustrated students at Christopher Newport University are trying to get their items back from where they lived. 11 days ago, hazmat crews entered their fraternity and removed dangerous chemicals. The area remains off-limits.

Benjamin Williams is one of the nine fraternity brothers who were displaced, and he can’t get his stuff.

“My desktop computer, I have a lot of clothes and shoes, and Xbox controllers.”

Hazmat personnel removed the unnamed dangerous chemicals on February 4. CNU says the concern is that they may have contaminated clothing, bedding and the air inside the fraternity.

“We asked a contractor to do some tests on the items and if the word comes back from everybody involved that these items are safe, back they’ll go to the students as quickly as we can,” said university spokesman Jim Hanchett.

Williams says the chemicals were found in a common area on the first floor known as the Chapter Room.

“I don’t usually go in the chapter room. It’s used for storage and brothers use it for laundry.”

Williams says he’s grateful for the temporary housing and $50 gift certificate for toiletries and other items, while his fraternity remains out of reach. He wants a better flow of information about what’s going on.

CNU says it’s working to resolve the issue.

“It’s not the university’s desire to hold on to anything that rightfully should go back and can safely go back to the students who lived here.”

CNU had a plan already in place long before this incident to knock down the building that houses Psi Upsilon and several other fraternities. Hanchett says it’s the oldest one on campus and will be replaced with new housing.

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