Mailroom changes affect student workers

Joey Fox

At the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year, the Jessica H. Park Mailroom changed its closing time from 8 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in an intended cost-saving measure, resulting in a loss of working hours for the mailroom’s student workers. 

According to Doug Schiazza, director of the Office of Student Life, the new hours are in fact a reversion to the hours in use several years ago. Schiazza told the Record in an email that the hours were extended past 4:30 p.m. “a couple of years ago…to offer students more time to pick up packages.” 

The administration determined prior to this academic year, however, that the benefits of the expanded hours did not outweigh the financial costs. “Through a distribution data assessment over the course of last year, student usage of the later hours didn’t justify the additional hours and staffing costs,” Schiazza said. 

The change has resulted in decreased working time for many of the mailroom’s student workers, including Hafidh Hassan ’20, who has worked in the mailroom since his first year.  “I usually worked here over nights,” Hassan said, “but now I can’t.” 

Arselyne Chery ’21, another student mailroom worker,  shared similar concerns. “The number of hours I’ve been working each week has decreased significantly from last year,” she said. “Now I only work about four hours a week, which is definitely not enough.” 

Cuts in staffing during open hours have also reduced avaliable student working hours, according to Schiazza. “Based on staff feedback as well as general observations last year, we now have just one student working at a time along with the regular professional staff.” 

Schiazza did note, however, that the changes will not affect the working hours of the mailroom’s full-time staff. “The professional staff in the Mailroom still have the same number of working hours they’ve had in the past,” he said.  

The student body has also felt these changes, which have led to longer lines and shorter windows to pick up packages. Chery added, “Of course it’s not been efficient for the student body at all, because of those who are maybe in lab, right? And the fact that it’s only one student per shift means that they have to be the ones dealing with a lot of the rushes.” 

Schiazza said that he’s “not aware of complaints from the student body about the changes, though [he’s] sure there are some.” 

For Chery, the changes have forced her to look for additional jobs elsewhere on campus. “I’m currently seeking another campus job, partly because this is not enough hours,” she said.  

 “We have to work harder than normal – but for little gain,” she added.