Since Monday, Feb. 10, an outsourced management company has been overseeing Wellesley’s Mail Services operation, ending a bidding and transition process that has lasted for two years. Collegiate Press, a privately-owned Boston-based company, will now send several of its employees to work at Mail Services in the campus center.
It is unlikely that students will notice any changes when they stop by Mail Services, with one major exception: Dave Caulfield, who has been employed with the college for 14 and a half years, is not staying on through the transition to Collegiate Press.
Lynn Payson, Director of Events Management/Campus Center, explained in an email to the Wellesley News that “as this transition was phased in, employees in the print and mail services were offered the opportunity to stay on in their same positions and join the staff of Collegiate Press…We know that change can be difficult and respect Dave’s decision and are grateful for his years of service to our students and community.”
There was no official announcement from college administration about the hiring of Collegiate Press or about Caulfield’s departure. Most students found out through word-of-mouth or through one student’s post in the Wellesley class Facebook pages, explaining that Caulfield’s last day would be Friday, Feb. 7.
Though he was well aware that outsourcing was in the works, Caulfield learned that Collegiate Press would start on Feb. 10 about two weeks before that date. Fran Adams, who has worked in the mail services distribution center since 1975, will be staying on with Collegiate Press.
It was not clear to Caulfield why the transition is happening now, specifically. Payson wrote that “Two years ago, following the retirement of a long-time staff member in the copy center, Wellesley decided to explore ways we could improve the copy, print and mail services of the college. We understood that these functions were rapidly evolving and that without additional expertise, training and technology, we could not continue to offer the highest quality service to our community in these areas.”
Caulfield said that he might have stayed on and continued to work with Collegiate Press, which is hired on a three-and-a-half year contract, were it not for an ordeal surrounding his severance package. If he had chosen to move on with Collegiate Press, he would have received a normal separation payout but no severance package. He could only receive his severance package if he left the college altogether. According to Caulfield, the administration did not make any effort to sway his decision, and the circumstances left him unsure that he would be kept on after the Collegiate Press contract expires.
“It’s not because of the monetary amount [of the severance package], it was because I just didn’t feel that the college valued my services,” Caulfield said.
This was a difficult situation for Caulfield, who said he will miss working for the college and with the students employees of the Mail Services center. At a going away party for Caulfield held on his last day, Keiko Hilmo ’20, who works at Mail Services, said that alums and current students spent hours sharing stories and expressing their appreciation for the community that he built during his time at Wellesley. She said that one alum drove up from New York to make it to the party, and others who couldn’t make it wrote letters to wish him well.
“He genuinely just wants to help people and goes out of his way to remember students,” said Hilmo, explaining that Caulfield’s leadership fostered connection not only with him but among the students who worked there.
Hilmo and other Mail Services employees are dismayed at the circumstances around Caulfield’s departure. Some are considering leaving their on-campus job, while others have already quit, although no students will be forced to leave because of the outsourcing. While she has a busy schedule this semester, Hilmo said she would be motivated to stay on at Mail Services if Caulfield were still there. Without him, however, she has decided to quit.
Monique Montoute ’18, a Mail Services alum, agreed with Hilmo’s description of Caulfield’s leadership, explaining in an email to The Wellesley News that his efficiency, kindness and sense of humor created an environment that was “like an escape from the stresses on the outside.”
“Wellesley College is surely losing an invaluable piece to the community puzzle, but I know I’m not alone in saying that I am grateful to have had Dave there during my time at Wellesley,” Montoute wrote.
While Caulfield’s absence will be felt, the daily function of Mail Services will not see much change. Collegiate Press, which is described on its website as an “outsourced copy, print and mailroom services for higher ed and K-12,” has had employees observing Mail Services in the days leading up to the Monday handover. The internal dynamic will be different, however, as students will have to help Collegiate Press employees learn the ropes.
Collegiate Press is a Boston-based company that is employed by several local schools, including Emmanuel College, Boston College and Wentworth Institute of Technology. According to the company’s website, Collegiate Press’ mail management services include pickup and delivery of mail, mailbox management, retail postage service and bulk mailings.
Caulfield is hopeful that the transition to Collegiate Press will go smoothly. As it takes place, he will be taking a vacation, then starting to look for new jobs. Caulfield does not yet know if he will be managing another Mail Services department in the future, but said that he remains open to any opportunities.