United States Postal Service

Photo Credit: Helen Fernandez | Daily Texan Staff

The lease for UT’s on-campus post office has been extended through February 2016 after representatives of University Operations, University Mail Services and the United States Postal Service met on Oct. 17.

The lease, initially set to expire in September, was extended through February of next year to give involved parties time to work out the details of the office’s future. It was then extended for two additional years to provide time for the University and the post office to work in tandem on analyzing the mailing needs of the campus. 

“We don’t want to be pressed for time to make long-term plans, and [the lease extension] gives us time to plan further into the future with all the changes coming to the University,” University Operations spokeswoman Cindy Posey said. “We want to meet the mailing needs of the campus community. We very much value what the post office provides in meeting those needs.”

Posey said, through conversations with the postal service, UT has found students make up the majority of the campus branch’s customers. 

“Part of our planning is to conduct surveys from our customers and find out what their needs are,” Posey said.

The lease extension comes as a relief to geology junior Gabrielle Ramirez, who frequently uses the campus branch.

“With the size of our student population … it just makes sense to have a post office available on campus, just as much as there’s two Wendy’s on campus,” Ramirez said. 

John Christian, a former UT employee who has had a P.O. box at the branch for more than 40 years, said he thinks keeping the post office on campus is advantageous to everyone. 

“I know people call it snail mail, but the USPS on campus performs a very important, convenient service,” Christian said.

Postal Service spokesman Sam Bolen said the postal service will continue to work with the University to develop a plan extending past the new lease.

“The new lease allows both parties time to develop a plan to bring the campus community the best possible mail services in the future,” Bolen said. 

Horns Up: Wal-Mart to stock more U.S.-made goods.

In a reversal of American businesses’ shift to cheaper labor markets overseas, discount retailer Wal-Mart has agreed to increase spending on U.S.-made goods by $50 billion over the next 10 years. According to The Wall Street Journal, the retail giant’s U.S. CEO, Bill Simon, told suppliers at a recent meeting in Orlando that Wal-Mart wanted to bring back “good middle-class jobs, [which] is exactly what our country needs.” Although the company’s spending plans will only affect 2 percent of its annual merchandise expenditures in the U.S., the renewed faith in and support for the American worker is an important first step in restoring the manufacturing middle class that has been hollowed out since the 1970s. Now, we just wish they’d extend that generosity to their own employees, who are notoriously underpaid and denied basic workers’ rights.

Horns Down: Postal service leaving UT.

We’ve mentioned before how enamored we are of the United States Postal Service, so you can imagine our disappointment when the USPS announced that it would be closing its office on the UT campus when its contract expires in February. There are still UPS and FedEx offices on the Drag, and the nearest USPS location is now only a few blocks south of campus on 17th Street, but we’ll miss being able to drop off a package in between classes without missing a beat.

Horns Up: Don't swim too close...

According to Politico, at a political fundraiser for a group promoting Social Conservatism in Richmond, Va. last Saturday, Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli avoided being photographed with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Cuccinelli, who is currently trailing the Democratic frontrunner for the Virginia governorship, Terry McAuliffe, in the polls by about five points, is infamous for asking the Supreme Court to reconsider the constitutionality of bans on oral and anal sex that were overturned in the landmark case Lawrence v. Texas. That’s correct: The guy who didn’t anticipate the campaign fiasco that would result from trying to outlaw oral and anal sex thinks that appearing in a photograph with Cruz is just too much of a political liability. We’re glad that even the “Wacko Bird” wing of the Republican party is starting to feel that Cruz is the odd man out.

Horns Down: We miss "Big John."

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn released a new statewide campaign ad in advance of his 2014 reelection bid, despite the fact that no one has appeared to challenge him for his seat. The 30-second ad touts Cornyn’s conservatism as hard as it can, presumably to compensate for his decision not to support fellow Texas Republican Ted Cruz’s effort to derail the Affordable Care Act by bringing the government to a screeching halt. It’s a fairly well-crafted attempt to shore up Cornyn’s conservative credentials, but we still long for the thrift-shop fringed jacket and melodramatic choir Cornyn used in his infamous “Big John” ad campaign in 2008.

Photo Credit: Helen Fernandez | Daily Texan Staff

The campus’ post office plans to close because its contract with the University expires at the end of February.

The campus post office, located in the West Mall Office Building, will permanently close its doors to all customers on or before Feb. 28. The post office, which houses 400 individual P.O. boxes, has already started its search for relocation space outside the University. 

The United States Postal Service’s contract was initially set to expire Sept. 1 of this year but was granted a five-month extension by the University.

“After being granted a contract extension from the University through February, we have ultimately decided to vacate our current campus office and seek relocation elsewhere,” USPS Texas spokesman Sam Bolen said. 

The vacancy would make the branch at 111 E. 17th St. the nearest USPS location to the University.

Private mail delivery companies operate mailing and shipping centers near campus. FedEx has a location at 2711 Guadalupe St. near Torchy’s Tacos, and UPS has one at 2002 Guadalupe St. near Emo’s Kitchen.

“I had no idea the post office was closing,” biochemistry junior Marissa Medina said. “I work as [a resident assistant] in the Kinsolving dormitory and normally direct people to the post office whenever they want to send packages.” 

Geology junior Gabrielle Ramirez was also unaware of the post office’s impending closure.

“This is really sad,” Ramirez said. “Having a post office on campus is so convenient, and I go there religiously when I have to mail off scholarship or internship applications. I live in Riverside and currently have no idea where the next nearest post office is.” 

University officials said they will soon release a statement regarding the closure.