With miniature bottles of maple syrup, artsy water bottles lined up in the display case and friendly staff to help you with your mail, the Tuck Shop and post office has been a core resource for many on campus.
The shop, located in the Arts Building, is set to close down on Nov. 1. In a statement to the Sheaf, the University of Saskatchewan director of consumer services George Foufas says that “the cost of operating the Canada Post location is no longer fiscally feasible for the university.”
Foufas also states that “the decision to close this location was made carefully and with consideration to students, faculty and staff.” Despite this reported consideration, students and faculty have started a petition against the university’s decision.
The letter of petition to keep the services, which has gained the support from more than 300 individuals so far, describes the post office as an “indispensable service for faculty, staff and students.”
Joanne Leow, a faculty member of the Department of English, launched the petition to show the university that the closure will affect the campus community.
“I started the petition because I felt strongly that the closure of the only on-campus post office would disproportionately disadvantage our international students, staff, faculty and any other person on campus who relies on this location to receive and send mail,” Leow said in an email to the Sheaf.
The post office’s closure will be mitigated with access to some postal services elsewhere on campus; personal mail can be posted in the mailbox located outside of Place Riel while stamps, envelopes and other mailing materials will be available for purchase at the campus bookstore.
However, the petition indicates that “replacing the existing arrangement with a limited service … is not an adequate substitute for a full post office with its range of services and knowledgeable employees.”
While there are other post office locations in the city, Leow says the change will impact students with mobility issues. According to Leow, international students will be hit the hardest.
“The closest post offices are quite far away by bus. This also impacts those who have mobility issues. We have over 3,000 international students in our university from over 130 countries,” Leow said. “Many international faculty and staff who regard the post office as a way to stay connected with professional colleagues and also a connection to their friends and family.”
Leow stresses the importance of keeping the Tuck Shop and post office to show the university’s commitment to internationalization.
“If one of the university’s priorities is to internationalize, then shutting down the only on-campus post office seems like a backwards step,” Leow said. “While we appreciate the fiscal issues, the university is not solely a business but also providing a public good to the community and its students.”
For now, the next step for Leow and the other organizers of the petition is “to see how many more people sign the petition and keep the decision makers updated on what the sentiment from faculty, staff and students is about the impending closure.”
Leow highlights that the supporters of the petition are a varied group who all feel strongly about the closure of the shops, which will hopefully impact the university’s decision.
“There was little or no consultation of students or faculty before this decision was taken,” Leow said. “There is a broad cross section of people here who felt strongly enough about this impending closure to take the time to sign the petition. I hope that those who are involved in the decision making process really take time to listen to what people have to say.”
Photo: Victoria Becker/ Photo Editor