By Christina Fazio
A few weeks ago, students in the Pope Hall mailroom were greeted with a large poster providing insight of the chance residents “may be sharing a mailbox with another student.”
Rita Camara, Assistant Director of Residence Life and Housing, who oversees assignments, was unaware of any official notification to students about the shared mailboxes.
“Students usually know if they are, if they find someone elses mail in their mailbox or if there is sometimes a letter following the mailbox number,” Camara said. The poster on the wall of the mailbox room wasn’t present until the spring.
“I don’t feel comfortable sharing my mailbox with someone because it allows whoever I’m sharing a mailbox with to know what I’m getting and the things I get will be out there for whoever I share with to take,” said sophomore education and psychology major Megan Dickinson. “I don’t even know who I’d be sharing it with, how can I trust them?”
The absence of any official document, informing students their mailbox may be shared with another student, jeopardizes the delivery of mail to the intended recipient. According to the federal law, this could have led to students facing legal consequences.
The United States Code 18 U.S.C. § 1702, Obstruction of Correspondence states, “Whoever takes any letter, postal card, or package out of any post office or any authorized depository for mail matter… before it has been delivered to the person to whom it was directed… shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”
Camara also mentioned there are more students sharing a mailbox in the fall, in comparison to the number of those sharing in the spring due to the higher enrollment in the fall.
Christina Annan, a sophomore majoring in sociology, expressed similar concerns at the thought of sharing a mailbox.
“What if they accidentally took my mail and then forget to return it to the mailbox or end up throwing it away?” she said.
Typically there are regulations and procedures for matters involving federal laws, to prevent violating such laws.
The 2012-2013 Student Handbook provides a brief description of the mail services offered on campus, but fails to inform students they may share a mailbox. The description under the section titled Mail Services states, “Each resident student is assigned a mailbox through his or her residence hall,” but says nothing about the possibility of sharing that mailbox with another student.