At its March 30 meeting, two members of Miami University’s Associated Student Government (ASG) presented a resolution to reduce the number of mail deliveries residence halls receive each week.
According to the resolution, authored by Academic Senators Alia Agee and Cameron Tiefenthaler, mail is currently delivered to residence halls every weekday. Despite this, Miami has seen a steady decline in mail delivery – in a survey conducted by Agee and Tiefenthaler, 55% of students reportedly rarely or never received mail.
The resolution proposed limiting letter mail deliveries to Mondays and Tuesdays, which would reduce Miami’s carbon footprint by using less mail trucks. The frequency of package deliveries would not be affected.
The authors also said students who are expecting time-sensitive mail, such as a voter registration form, would be able to contact the Shriver Center and get a notification when it arrives. Mail could also be delivered more frequently during high-volume periods.
“We would make sure the Mail & Package Center would monitor the influx of mail, particularly during election cycles, because we know that’s when absentee ballots and things [are arriving],” Agee said. “Because making sure students have access to those is very important.”
Some members of ASG raised concerns about the resolution for a variety of reasons, including whether it would disproportionately affect certain marginalized groups.
On-Campus Senator Jake Kravitz discussed concerns about homeless and international students, who may not be able to receive mail anywhere other than their residence halls.
“I would be surprised if we don’t have any students who are technically homeless and don’t have an address other than their residence hall [address],” Kravitz said. “Another group that would be disproportionately affected would be international students, who probably don’t have any other U.S. address.”
Allison South, secretary for infrastructure and sustainability, sponsored the resolution and spoke in favor of it during the meeting because it correlates to Miami’s goal of eventually switching to renewable energy sources.
“This may seem like a small change, but it fights right into Miami’s long-term plan to reduce the number of vehicles [on campus] and eventually get electric cars,” South said. “It’s a drop in the bucket, but changes like this are necessary to have a low enough electricity generation so we can easily switch over to renewable power.”
Though more than 90% of respondents on the survey said they would be in favor of the resolution, Academic Senator Vada Stephens pointed out the demographics of the respondents are not known. He also raised concerns about the legal implications of reducing mail distribution.
“If we were to pass a bill like this, I think it is necessary to make sure we do our due diligence,” Stephens said. “I urge the authors to look into some of these concerns and take proactive steps to tighten up some of these loose ends.”
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After a lengthy discussion, ASG opted to table the resolution until the authors can resolve some of the concerns senators raised. It will be brought back to the floor whenever the authors feel as though they’ve sufficiently amended the resolution.
ASG’s next meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 6 at 6 p.m.