Freshman Timothy Bovitt had a difficult star to his college experience. He ordered a textbook for his Race and Diversity GenEd. After a week of waiting, it still didn’t come. “I started to get kind of worried because it was like okay, for this week I want you do do readings one through three. I was like I can’t do any of those readings,” he said.
He received the textbook a few days later, but by then, he says he was already far behind the rest of his class. “I was stressed out of my mind,” he said.
Bovitt’s situation is not uncommon. Many students living in residence halls have been facing the same problem. It’s because Philadelphia’s Postmaster General told the United States Postal Service to stop delivering mail and packages to each dorm. Instead, they’re delivered to a makeshift mail room in the basement of Morgan Hall.
Ray Daiutolo, a representative for the Postmaster General, says it’s because an audit revealed this is Postal Service policy and that they’ve been doing it wrong for years. According to the United States Postal Service (USPS) website, “mail is(supposed to be) delivered in bulk to a designated representative of the school or property, who then becomes responsible for further distribution to students and residents.”
Daitulolo says that although this change was made to be in accordance with USPS policy, it’s also saving them money. He also says he alerted the University that this change would be happening in January, in order to give them time to prepare. The change was not put in place until July.
However, it’s now up to Temple’s Maintenance Operations to sort and deliver the mail to each residence hall after it arrives in Morgan Hall. Bill Jalbert, Director of Maintenance Operations, says that although the Postmaster General alerted Temple University in January, he wasn’t told about the changes until the Spring. “As I recall, we were given very little information as to when it was going to occur,” he said.
That’s why he says his team wasn’t ready for the task.
“We had no mail room. We had no person trained to do mail delivery. We had no system in place to record the mail that was received,” he said.
Hundreds of packages are received each day and they’re being sorted by one man, Lester Hinton. “Yesterday, I scanned about 400 and something packages, and that’s light,” he said.
He doesn’t just sort the mail, he also hand delivers it to each residence hall. “I’m not going to say that I’m overwhelmed because they didn’t know.”
Hinton and Jalbert say that eventually, delivery times should get quicker.
“Once we get used to it with work, work, and more work…we can just pace ourselves,” says Hinton.
“Bear with us. By the time the next rush comes around, I think that will be Halloween, we’ll have your goodies for you,” Jalbert added.
If delivery times don’t improve in the next couple of weeks, Jalbert says to order from second party carriers like UPS. He also suggests using Amazon lockers, if you’re ordering from Amazon.