Residents Report Claims of Tampered Mail

Students say that their mail has been previously opened and that enclosed money has gone missing



Students have expressed concerns about Public Safety’s response to reports of missing cash.


Receiving mail at Fordham Lincoln Center has proven a difficult task for certain residents in recent years, with some reporting that their mail was opened, misdirected or never arrived in their mailboxes or the package room.

According to one anonymous student their mail was tampered with just last semester. This student, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’21, alleged that a letter sent by their mother had been opened when they received it in their mailbox. They stated by email, “When I got my letter, it had been re-sealed but the gift card had been stolen.” The “Trader Joe’s gift card with 200 dollars on it,” the student wrote, “was supposed to cover my groceries for the semester.” 

While one cannot say whether the mail was tampered with at Fordham or somewhere else. However, several students have complained that their mail has not arrived as expected over the last few years.

Gabriela Wilson, FCLC ’21, had a similar experience in spring 2018: “I checked my mailbox, and a card from my grandmother for my birthday had been ripped open across the top all the way,” she wrote in an email.

After checking with her family, Wilson learned that $50 in cash had been taken from the envelope. She filed a report with the Department of Public Safety at the time but never recovered the money.

Isabella Malfi, FCLC ’21, expected mail that she never received during each of her first two years living on-campus, beginning when she was a freshman living in McKeon Hall. “My grandmother sent me a birthday card with $100 of cash money inside. I received neither the card nor the money, though I checked every day for weeks,” she wrote in an email.  

Malfi said she notified the package room staff about not receiving the gift but never learned more information about whether her card was delivered to campus. She explained, “Since this incident, I’ve directed all my mail to my house on Long Island, and I pick it up there on weekends.”

Malfi also described an incident last year, when she used Amazon to order textbooks for her Italian class. “Amazon said that they were delivered, though the package room said they were not,” she wrote. 

This discrepancy is common when students order from Amazon, whose online interface indicates when a package has arrived at its destination address in real time but fails to account for a Fordham processing period before the package can be picked up. That, along with the package room’s limited hours, can make for negative experiences like Malfi’s.

Robert Dineen, director of public safety, pointed out in an email that university regulations suggest parents or others who are sending money to students have their letters legally certified. He added that Fordham has no legal responsibility when a package that is not certified is missing, as per policy in the Residential Life Handbook.

“When a student discovers their mail was never received at Fordham or their letter or package has been received but it has been opened and valuables are missing, we want them to immediately contact Public Safety so we can interview the student, gather the facts, file an incident report, and begin an investigation,” Dineen wrote.

A student might have trouble filing a report with Public Safety, however, especially if they have had no previous experience with the department. “My parents told me to file an official report with campus safety; however, being a freshman, I did not know how to do this,” Malfi wrote. 

Mail is an important aspect of dormitory living, as residents regularly receive personal communications and confidential information. Students often worry about the security of the letters and packages they might need to receive.

In the past, the mailbox combinations corresponding to the rooms in McKeon Hall and the bedrooms in McMahon Hall apartments were fixed and not updated when residents moved in and out. 

Dineen wrote that Public Safety officers “have instituted a project where our colleagues in Facilities Operations will change the combination locks on student mail boxes at the end of every academic year, so mail cannot be accessed by past residents.” 

He reassured students, “We have CCTV cameras technology in place in our mail room and on the student mailboxes to further enhance our ability to keep our students and their property safe and secure.” Additionally, “daily inspections are made to ensure that mailbox doors are shut and locked.”

Fordham Public Safety has stated their commitment to protecting the property and rights of all Fordham community members. The 24-hour phone number for a student to begin a possible theft complaint is (212) 636-6076.