By LARRY FARES
Last week, a group of concerned students wrote 1,200 letters to be distributed to students’ mailboxes.
Clay Grego, ’13, one of the mailing’s organizers, discovered when he returned to the post office that the letters were not mailed and that they were opened and read. The staff informed Grego that they were waiting further instruction from their supervisor, Kathy Roos, director of communications.
Grego met with Dean of Students Joesph DiChristina, Provost Linda DeMerritt, Associate Dean Kazi Joshua, Kathy Roos and a number of other students.
“We never anticipated merging forces with the director of communications, Kathy Roos,” Grego said. “The incident happened near the time we had planned to talk about diversity issues on the campus… We had already scheduled the meeting, and it turned out because of this incident happening, it only seemed appropriate to invite Kathy Roos in order to involve her in the conversation.”
The meeting was carried out in two parts: Grego’s response to the incident, and then a response to Grego’s concerns from Roos.
After the meeting, Roos sanctioned the mailing.
Roos clarified on the series events.
“When we have a large quantity of identical pieces of campus mail with no return address – and no way of knowing where they originated – it is standard procedure to open one piece…it could be free advertising for a pizza place or even a mailing that violates our Statement of Community,” Roos said.
Roos said that a particular number hasn’t been placed on what constitutes a mass mailing, but that steps would probably be taken to clarify their policy.
Roos also wanted to make sure that students in the future will talk to the post office staff before sending their letters.
“We recognize that students can put a lot of effort into writing, duplicating, and addressing a mass mailing,” she said. “We just want to remind everyone not to miss a critical step: talking to the campus post office in advance about a mass mailing. Our post office staff are professional and helpful, and a conversation with them can go a long way toward avoiding misunderstanding.”