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Mailboxes at The Crown apartments hang empty after tenants stopped receiving mail after the United States Postal Service reclassified apartment complexes to dormitories. Tenants like Nicole Cortez and her roommates took matters into their own hands. “We’ve had to get a P.O. Box just so we can get our mail,” Cortez said.

Editor's note: A former version of this story included a quote from an employee of The Columns apartment complex who was not aware of the action the complex is taking in the dispute over mail delivery with the U.S. Postal Service. The story has been updated. 

Four Bowling Green apartment complexes are suing the U.S. Postal Service and postmaster Andrea Forsythe in U.S. District Court due to a change in the way the apartments are receiving mail.

Hilltop Club, Midtown, Campus Pointe and The Crown are suing; The Columns is not but has also been affected by this issue.

The problem began when the USPS reclassified the apartment complexes as dormitories. The reclassification went into effect in December, with employees being notified of incoming changes as early as October.

According to the USPS Postal Operations Manual, qualified apartments are supposed to have mail delivered to “individual boxes in a residential building containing apartments or units occupied by different addresses.” Mail delivered to dormitories “is delivered in bulk to a designated representative of the school or property, who then becomes responsible for further distribution to students and residents.”

These apartment complexes are in the vicinity of WKU and house many students, but they are not university-owned property.

Hilltop Club, Midtown, Campus Pointe and The Crown filed the joint lawsuit in early January against the USPS and local postmaster.

The Columns is one apartment complex not participating in the lawsuit. However, Andover Management Group said complex’s owners are working to resolve the issue for residents through alternative avenues, and believes the situation is against USPS policy. 

George Board, an employee and resident of The Columns, said he, along with many other residents, have been affected by the reclassification.

“Both parents and residents were calling saying their Christmas presents were not coming in,” Board said. “Everyone was just extremely frustrated, and there just wasn’t much we could do with that sadly.”

Brandon Williams, a resident of The Crown, said he hasn’t been receiving any of his mail.

“I’ve actually gotten phone calls and emails saying my packages are being sent back to the supplier,” Williams said.

This is not the first time this problem has affected students at a university. In October, a Pennsylvania apartment complex housing Penn State students reported being refused mail delivery due to being classified as a residence hall.

An employee of Campus Pointe said the postal service is refusing to deliver packages and is waiting on them to respond to the lawsuit.

“[My roommates] were not able to get their Christmas packages from their family members,” said Caitlyn Pitcock, resident of The Crown apartments. “I had important documents for my new car that were supposed to be mailed to me, and I didn’t receive them in time because of this issue.”

The USPS is refusing to deliver mail to individual mailboxes in these complexes, and are instead delivering mail in bulk to property and leasing managers of each building.

They are continuing to reject mail deliveries.

News reporter Cassady Lamb can be reached at cassady.lamb667@topper.wku.edu. Follow her on Twitter at @lambp0p.

Cassady Lamb is a general assignment reporter for the College Heights Herald. She is a freshman from Louisville, KY.