The University is prepared to prop up the Yale Station post office in the event that the cash-strapped United States Postal Service closes it — but even Yale could do little to maintain mail service on campus if the USPS shut down entirely.
In late July, the postal service released a list of nearly 3,700 offices around the country that are candidates for closure. Yale Station was not on the list, but three other New Haven post offices were flagged. USPS spokesperson Christine Dugas said the organization considered each office’s proximity to other locations, revenue flow and rate of transactions when flagging them for potential closure. While the Yale Station passed muster with the USPS in July, Dugas said that it might not in the future.
“I suspect it hypothetically could be on a future list,” she said. “What we are looking at is to restructure the locations of postal services for our customers and to save money.”
Despite the fact that the Yale Station does not face imminent closure, Yale Director of Support Services Don Relihan said that the University would act to maintain mail operations at Yale Station if the USPS discontinued them.
Specifically, Relihan said the University would hire employees to facilitate a “seamless and transparent” transition from USPS to University operation.
“If Yale Station were to close, it would be incumbent on the University itself to run it as a contract station ourselves, Relihan said. “Without question, we would act to preserve it if it were challenged.”
Still, Relihan said that Yale Station seems like an improbable candidate for future closure. He pointed to the station’s heavy foot traffic and high volumes of outbound packages from students and faculty as evidence of its viability, adding that Yale Station might be “one of the more profitable offices” currently in operation.
A Yale Station employee who asked to remain anonymous was also confident that the station will remain open.
“We aren’t going anywhere,” she said.
Though Relihan said Yale Station is stable, he said the University is not prepared for a total closure of the postal service.
On Sept. 4, the New York Times reported that the USPS may not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment to employee pensions due at the end of the month. The more pressing matter, the Times reported, is that the agency could run out of money and be forced to cease mail service early next year, barring an act of Congress.
Dugas said she believes the media has sensationalized the agency’s fiscal woes; nevertheless, she said Congress will have to act to stabilize the post office’s finances.
“We are facing a dire financial situation, a situation we have never faced before,” she said. “We need Congress to intervene.”
Relihan said the University has yet to develop a contingency plan for the USPS’ closure, adding that it would be “premature” to do so.
Media reports of the postal service’s financial problems have some Yalies worried about the future of the office.
“If they don’t keep the Yale Station open, the University would lose a vital service that is much needed for our proper functioning — not to mention the effect on the New Haven residents who also use the Yale Station,” said Sajid Ghani ’13.
Yale Station was renovated in the basement of Lanman-Wright Hall in 1993.
Correction: September 16, 2011
The article “Yale Station safe — for now” misstated that Yale Station opened in 1993, which is actually the year the post office was renovated.