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Opening student mail, federal crime?

By |2007-03-29T09:00:00-04:00March 29th, 2007|News|

SPRING ARBOR- When Drew Hinkle ran into Kim Hayworth, the Director of Student Services at Spring Arbor University saying she needed to talk with him, he was leery. LBGT students fear being called in by this department because it is the department charged with punishment for students who break the rules.
When Hinkle, who is an out gay student, arrived at Hayworth’s office, he was stunned to be handed a copy of Out Magazine that had been intercepted and opened. Hayworth told Hinkle it was okay for him to get Out Magazine and have it. However Hinkle says he was told they would prefer he have it delivered somewhere else.
Out Magazine arrives in a black plastic sleeve, much like pornography, which is against the rules for students at SAU to have or view.
Jamie(not her real name) says a friend of hers who received packages from home also suffered from opened mail.
Officials from Spring Arbor University refused to return phone calls and emails on this situation.
U.S. Postal Inspector D. L. Carter says opening mail is a federal crime. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is the law enforcement arm of the United States Postal Service.
“The fact that they are a Christian college gives them no right or privilege to open first class mail that is not addressed to them directly,” he said. “Absolutely it is a violation of federal law to open first class mail. It is protected by the sanctity of the seal.”
Carter says it is important to report the cases of mail tampering to his office. Calling it a hate crime based on the description provided by BTL of the incidents of Hinkle and Jamie’s friend, who were singled out for mail searches because they were perceived to be gay or lesbian.
Any one who has been a victim of mail tampering at Spring Arbor University is asked to call Carter at (313) 226-8122 or online at USPS.com.

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