U dorms limit parcel drop-offs at info desks

by Justin Ware

As anthrax fears change mail-handling procedures across the country, University residence hall employees must now refuse care packages, cookies, homework and anything else dropped off by non-common carriers.

The safety of residents and staff in the halls led University officials to ban, earlier this week, all unofficial carrier packages from being dropped off at information desks. Official carriers include professional package handlers such as UPS, the U.S. Mail and florists.

Lisa Schulte, assistant director of housing and residential life, said the security issue was not the sole
reason behind prohibiting the drop-offs.

“We don’t have the space to provide the service,” Schulte said.

“If everyone in Middlebrook dropped something off, that’s 900 things,” she said.

She said there never was a policy for the information desks to serve as a holding area for items parents, teachers or friends might leave for the residents. It was up to the individual working at the time.

“What is the purpose of the information desk?” she said. “It’s not meant to be a drop-off area.”

Rachel Holdsambeck, an Institute of Technology freshman living in Centennial Hall, said she thinks the new policy is a good idea.

“(The University) is a big enough place,” Holdsambeck said of the possibility the University could be a bioterrorism target. “It could happen anywhere.”

Jessica Reckard, an aerospace engineering freshman and Centennial resident, said she thinks the restrictions on drop-offs are excessive.

“I don’t think (bioterrorism) is really a concern here,” Reckard said. “I’m more afraid to walk home at night than pick a package up.”

Reckard said having the employee at the desk check the ID of a person dropping off a package would be enough.

Schulte said the rules don’t represent a fear of terrorism but a method of preparedness.

“It’s being more proactive than reactive,” she said.

Schulte said no residents or residence hall employees have come forward with complaints or
concerns regarding their safety.

Nicole Lanzy, a sophomore English major who works at Centennial’s information desk, said there haven’t been any complaints stemming from the restrictions.

As far as bioterrorism is concerned, Lanzy said, “I don’t think anything is going to go on.”

She said the residence hall gave her and her fellow employees the option of wearing gloves to protect themselves when sorting mail.

John Yick, a junior biology major who also works at Centennial, was wearing the gloves Wednesday afternoon.

Yick said he does feel safe but could understand how a University with a large number of people might be a target.

Lanzy said residents can still have non-common carriers deliver packages to the halls, but they need to be present to receive them.


Justin Ware welcomes comments at [email protected]