Indiana Daily Student

IU Mail Services issues alerts

Campus responds to concern about postal tamperings

As 145 million postcards from the United States Postal Service arrive at every American household warning citizens about suspicious mail, IU Mail Services is doing its part to keep IU students, and their letters and packages, safe.\nIU Mail Services Manager Mike Stephens issued a series of alerts for students and faculty handling mail early this week.\nAmong them, Stephens gave students and mail handlers seven things to look for when receiving letters. The list includes mail without a return address and letters with a postmark that does not match the return address.\nStephens said that any package or letter that is suspicious should be immediately given to the IU Police Department for inspection.\n"Suspicious packages, bomb threats and other unusual activities are not unusual or uncommon events on college campuses across the United States," said IUPD Police Chief Jim Kennedy in a letter to students. "These incidents have occurred all too frequently during demonstrations and times of civil unrest.\n"If for any reason a person feels uncomfortable in evaluating suspicious packages or letters, they should contact their local police who will make a risk assessment," he said. "During these times of increased awareness our actions should be driven by common sense and rational thinking, not by paranoia and hysteria." \nTo help its staffs, which sort all the mail for the seven residence centers, Residential Programs and Services is facilitating sessions which began last week to train mail handlers to use caution when dealing with mail.\nThe sessions teach resident assistants and residence center employees how to spot potentially dangerous parcels. The session also teaches handlers how to use masks and gloves while sorting mail, Bob Weith, director of academic initiatives for RPS said.\nThe masks and gloves are simply a precaution, Weith said, used at the discretion and the comfort of the employee. \n"All of us are in an era that we haven't been in before," Weith said. "Beyond the advice we've received nationally for the last couple of weeks, I don't have any magical advice to give folks." \nWeith said he doesn't anticipate the center's needing protective masks and gloves, but felt giving employees the option was the "right thing to do." Weith wants IU employees to feel safe.\nMonday, a postal union filed a lawsuit against the USPS to force the closing of New York's biggest mail-sorting center for testing.\n"We're simply asking the post office to close the building and make sure it's safe," William Smith, the union president, said of the 2-million-square-foot Morgan Processing and Distribution Center. "Test everybody and tell us they haven't been exposed. If that's not done, we shouldn't be in that building."\nWeith said it's proper for concerned students to check their mail a little closer as letters tainted with anthrax continue to pop-up across America. \n"In this type of atmosphere and this time, it behooves us to be careful, cautious but not inflammatory in what we're doing," Weith said. "We're trying to look out for the staff and students."\nThe postal service has also issued a blanket warning to all citizens to carefully examine all letters and packages. Among its warning, the USPS cautions citizens against letters that appear lumpy or lopsided and messages with handwritten addresses and no return address, according to a press release.\nThe postal service has been advising Americans to be cautious about mail that seems unusual suggesting that if people have any concerns they should wash their hands after handling mail.\nThe Associated Press contributed to this story.

Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

Powered by Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 Indiana Daily Student