For over 30 years, Miami University’s campus post office has been providing postal services to faculty and students. Originally located in the Shriver Center, the office is now located in Wells Hall on Spring Street. The current staff includes five full-time employees and 35 students. Services offered at the office include the sale of stamps, delivery of packages and the sale of Postal Money Orders.
However, the United States Postal Service is undergoing a financial crisis that threatens to shut down the operation. In a report released by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Sept. 6, the “USPS has experienced a cumulative net loss of nearly $20 billion over the last five fiscal years, including an $8.5 billion loss in 2010 and a net loss of $5.7 billion in the first nine months of fiscal year 2011.”
According to the report, “USPS expects to reduce costs by closing about 300 mail processing plants and 12,000 retail facilities; reducing service; and eliminating layoff protections in collective bargaining agreements so that it can reduce its total workforce by about 125,000 career employees by 2015.”
Miami’s post office is not immune to the financial troubles that the USPS is experiencing, according to Campus Post Office Manager Anita Byrd.
“Our sales are down about 16 percent this year from last year,” Byrd said. “They went from about $98,000 in sales to about $82,000 in sales this past year.”
This does not appear to be a passing trend, according to Bill Shawver, senior director of Purchasing and Central Services.
“The financial difficulties are a consequence of what I think is a changing environment in the way we communicate with each other,” Shawver said.
Byrd said she wasn’t overly concerned about the office’s future.
“It is unlikely that we will be affected by the closures because we are a retail location which seems to be what the Postal Service is moving towards,” Byrd said.
Shawver agreed and said there have been no discussions about closures.
So how do the students feel about the situation? Miami senior Cassandra Willhelm said she feels that the government has an obligation to protect the USPS.
“The government already saved the car industry and I feel the post office is more important than the car industry,” Willhelm said.
Although it appears that the campus post office is safe for now, the government has the final say, according to Shawyer.
“If the US Postal Service for some reason suspends it, we would not have a whole lot of say,” Shawyer said.
Additionally, should the USPS determine that the campus office is not in line with its restructuring plans Byrd said she believes it would happen within the next year because there is a need to take immediate action by the postal service because of their financial situation.