The campus mail system was a mangled mess this summer. A myriad of confused employee practices and an incredible lack of communication among University offices left some students waiting hopelessly by their mailboxes for letters and magazines that will never be delivered.
The situation is unacceptable.
The University is responsible for the delivery of all pieces of mail, but it bungled that service so much this summer that it could have violated U.S Postal Service regulations. Consider some of the following University mail practices:
Instead of forwarding magazines to students’ summer addresses, student employees in residence halls regularly put magazines into a bin where any resident was free to pick them up. While some students clearly enjoyed the free magazines, it was at the expense of the students who paid for their magazines but never received them.
Third-class mail was regularly tossed in the garbage by residence hall student employees. Most third-class mail is junk mail, but the University still is required to send it to students’ forwarding addresses. And what if some of the mail thrown out included students’ bills? It isn’t the University that will be charged late fees when students fail to pay their credit card bills.
Student employees never were told the rules governing mail forwarding. University employees also were in the same confused state. One administrator, Christina Huczca, coordinator of summer programs at the Community Living and Learning Center, said her people followed the practices outlined for them by GW Mail Services. The only problem: Jim Miller, GW Mail Services site manager, said he never explained procedures to anyone. Miller also said he has met with CLLC officials only a single time to go over mail handling procedures. That’s not reassuring.
For their part, students need to fill out all necessary paperwork before they leave residence halls to ensure that mail reaches them. University administrators responsible for mail distribution need to pick up the phone more often and talk to each other about policies and procedure.
But above all, those administrators’ legal responsibility is to ensure the delivery of mail. That is their job. Students count on them to do it.