The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday October 5th

Department of Public Safety investigates mail tampering in residence halls

Students in six campus residence halls across South Campus were notified last week that their mail could be at risk.

UNC’s Department of Public Safety is investigating instances of mail tampering — a federal crime involving opening, destroying or damaging someone else’s mail.


To report any possible mail tampering or irregularities, contact your resident adviser or the Department of Public Safety at 919-962-3951.

DPS spokesman Randy Young said one person of interest has been identified in an ongoing investigation into security issues in certain residence hall mailboxes. The affected residence halls include Hinton James, Ehringhaus, Craige, Morrison, Odum Village and Ram Village.

“Suspicious conditions were reported to us by (the Department of Housing and Residential Education), and it was ascertained that security was being compromised due to a manufacturer defect,” Young said.

The defect could allow individuals to access mailboxes that don’t belong to them, he said.

The communities involved have mailboxes from the same manufacturer and are made with the same materials, said Rick Bradley, assistant housing director, in an email.

He said other residence halls are not affected because they have mailboxes from different manufacturers, or the same manufacturer but made at a different time.

DPS is using security footage to investigate how widespread the tampering might be.

“There could be more than we know about right now,” he said.

Young said the housing department is addressing any security problems with the mailboxes.

Bradley said either the manufacturer will repair the boxes in the six communities, or the boxes will be replaced.

Students who think their mail could have been tampered with should contact a resident adviser or DPS, Young said.

“Anything they may have been looking to receive and haven’t, or anything that looks like it’s been handled or tampered with — we’d rather hear about it and rule out a threat or crime than not hear at all,” he said.

Freshman Nicole Rose, a resident of Hinton James, said she wasn’t worried about the security issues

“I don’t get too much important mail to this address,” she said.

But freshman Abigail Armstrong said she is concerned because mail is personal and private.

“And my grandma sends me money sometimes — I would like to have that.”

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