DEAR MISS MANNERS: A year ago, a paper of mine was chosen for publication in my college’s undergraduate research journal, but publication was postponed until the fall issue due to a “heavy workload.” I told the publication office that I was graduating in June, and gave them my address so that they could send me the fall issue with my article once it was published.
In early December, I asked when I should expect to receive it. The response, two days later, was that “due to leadership changes and executive decisions in between school years,” my article was postponed until the winter issue, and that I would receive a copy in the mail once it was published.
In March, I received an invitation to the launch party for the winter issue, which finally includes my article. I responded that I would be unable to attend, since I already graduated and am no longer in the area. Even though they already had my address, I gave it to them again just in case.
Then came the shelter-in-place orders in my state due to coronavirus, with college students being asked to leave campus. I know this must be a stressful time for all college students. But since responding to the invitation, I have heard no response nor received my copy in the mail.
With the pandemic going on, would it be selfish of me to ask them when I can expect my copy? I don’t want to come across as insensitive, but also feel that they have treated me quite poorly throughout this whole process. It seems as if they should have had plenty of time to mail my copy, since they already had my address and had repeatedly promised to do so.
GENTLE READER: As you are well aware, the issue was finished before the pandemic shut things down. But as you have also noticed, it now looks heartless to complain about any nonemergency work that did not get done.
Miss Manners suspects that a side effect of the pandemic will be the use of this all-purpose excuse in matters that are entirely unrelated to the crisis. Obligations that should have been met, or still could be, will be swept in with lapses that were serious and unavoidable.
So you needn’t feel selfish about asking. But now you may encounter a real excuse: lack of access to the office where the issues are kept. A restrained reminder would be best, asking how or when you can obtain the journal, as you did not receive it when it was published last year.