Mail Handling Procedures

The college’s mailroom staff has been advised how to spot and handle suspicious mail. In addition to their review of the College’s incoming mail, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is "taking every possible measure to assure the safety for all". They are coordinating efforts with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Health and Human Services to "strengthen the security of business mailrooms".
To aid their mail efforts we ask that you please inform anyone or organization that regularly sends you mail to include your department name or box number.

The following guidelines have been taken from the USPS Message to Customers and a Center for Disease Control (CDC) Health Advisory.

  • What constitutes a suspicious letter or parcel?
  • Have any powdery substance on the outside.
  • Are unexpected or from someone unfamiliar to you.
  • Have excessive postage, handwritten or poorly typed address, incorrect titles or titles with no name, or misspellings of common words.
  • Are addressed to someone no longer with your organization or are otherwise outdated.
  • Have no return address, or have one that can’t be verified as legitimate.
  • Are of unusual weight, given their size, or are lopsided or oddly shaped.
  • Have an unusual amount of tape.
  • Are marked with restrictive endorsements, such as "Personal" or "Confidential".
  • Have strange odors or stains.

Each of these indicators alone does NOT necessarily constitute a suspicious letter or parcel. Since these criteria are broad, we must all use common sense and good judgment, a large amount of mail and parcels received by the college could easily be considered suspicious.

If you receive a suspicious letter or package:

  • Handle with care. Don’t shake or bump.
  • Don’t open, smell, touch or taste.
  • Isolate it immediately. (Place it in a plastic bag, or some other type of container to prevent leakage)
  • Treat it as suspect. Call campus security, they will contact the local police.

Though no specific threats to Gettysburg College, or individual campus community members have been made, we share these precautions to ensure our campus remains safe. The best way to ensure safety is through education. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact Bill Lafferty, Director of Safety and Security, at extension 6912.

If you seek additional information, the following web sites are helpful.