Discourse / Letters / March 4, 2010

An open letter to the individuals placing flyers in student mailboxes

This letter is not on behalf of mailroom staff, but we write this as students of Knox College who also happen to be employed by Knox Postal Services. In the past week, over 1700 fliers were distributed to Knox mailboxes, and we would like to express some personal concerns regarding these fliers.

To begin, the mailroom employees have been responsible for the distribution of your fliers. While it is our policy to distribute any envelopes marked with box numbers, we know what is in these envelopes and many of us are morally opposed to your campaign. In the past week, many employees have expressed extreme frustration with the number of fliers we have had to stuff (one for each of the 1745 boxes), with our only other option being the loss of our campus jobs. It is our hope that if we are asked to stuff your fliers again, we would not be asked to stuff so many – or that you would find another venue than mailboxes through which to express your opinion.

Besides some employees’ personal opposition, your fliers have been a waste of paper. We have seen countless individuals check their mailboxes, receive the fliers, and promptly throw them in the garbage can – not the recycling bin. Whether or not these students are at fault, the paper is being wasted. The use of envelopes to address the fliers wasted even more paper, as the fliers could have been folded and written on. Also, there are many students, such as those who are studying abroad or doing off-campus research, whose mailboxes are flagged and who don’t receive mail. Because many of your envelopes were addressed to these flagged boxes and none of them had a return address, we have been unable to do anything but hold on to them.

Finally, many students received fliers in their mailboxes and came to the employees of the mailroom looking for answers – because the student body wasn’t aware that a flier had been distributed to every mailbox, some people felt they were being personally attacked. We hope that if you are surprising your fellow students with fliers, you take victims of sexual assault into account. Unexpected reminders of assault can trigger flashbacks and terrible memories, as we also witnessed firsthand this week. We know you may not be aware of some of these reactions, but we are and we were forced to be responsible for dealing with these reactions in the wake.

In conclusion, we ask as your fellow students that you take our efforts into consideration when voicing your opinion. You have the right to have your fliers distributed, but we ask that you bring your bulk mailings to the mailroom window, in box number order. Alternatively, we suggest you find a less wasteful way to express yourself, in which we aren’t responsible for distribution or reaction.

Gabe Ayers ’13, Ellen Jackson ’12, Casey Patrick ‘11, Cassidy Bires ’10, Rebeccah Lanni ’10 , Jaclyn Stillmaker ‘11, Madison Davis ’12, Evan Massey ‘10

Evan Massey

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