The Kansas University Alumni Association wants Congress to pass legislation voiding a $31,700 postage bill sent to the association by the U.S. Postal Service.
Fred Williams, KUAA executive director, said Tuesday that KU alumni programs will be cut if Congress doesn't act and appeals to the postal service fail.
"We have appealed our assessment," he said. "We and the postal service are waiting for Congress to act."
An aide to Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, R-Kan., said Tuesday that Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., and Rep. Bill Ford, D-Mich., are considering adding amendments to address this concern onto other legislation, but have yet to do so.
Williams said KUAA will reduce the scope of its programs and publications aimed at KU's constituents if it doesn't prevail.
"We'll cut down on some chapter meetings or cut down a page or two in a publication, which means we won't talk about certain needs on campus," he said.
POSTAL SERVICE inspectors audited at least 70 alumni associations last year and concluded that non-profit permits held by many associations had been misused.
Permits were inappropriately used by non-profit associations and for-profit companies to sell merchandise and travel packages, inspectors said.
Several U.S. college alumni associations received bills for back postage in excess of $100,000.
In November, KUAA was notified it would be retroactively billed $31,738 for improper use of its permit since January 1988.
Lawrence Postmaster Bill Reynolds said there was no attempt by KUAA officials to defraud the government.
According to postal service inspectors, alumni organizations involved in the mailings were required to own materials sent at non-profit rates.
In KUAA's case, the association mailed travel literature provided by three for-profit companies, including Maupintour Travel Service, Lawrence.
WITH KUAA'S non-profit permit, the mailings were sent at the non-profit bulk rate of 8.4 cents per piece, instead of the higher commercial bulk rate of 16.8 cents.
Two companies, Alumni Holidays of Chicago and Intrav of St. Louis, handled 85 percent of KUAA's mailings, Williams said.
He said that for many years the postal service accepted without reservation the cooperative mailings.
"There has been a reinterpretation of the law," Williams said. "The higher education community did not know or understand these rules, nor did the postal service."
He said the University of Maryland alumni association, billed more than $100,000 in back postage, intends to challenge the postal service's order in court.
In addition, he said KUAA probably wouldn't file suit against the three travel companies to gain reimbursement for back postage.