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Protest House Dining Proposal

protest!

Attend the next Undergraduate Association Council meeting and tell your studnet representatives what you think of the proposal. The next time you check you e-mail, send a letter to the administration and ask it to reverse its decision.

When several similar proposals were introduced by the House Dining Committee last spring, each one was withdrawn after being severely criticized by students. The House Dining Committee's deliberations were remarkably open. The discussion was conducted in apparent secrecy, but a loud student response now may force the administration to change its course.

The broad public discussion of the committee's proposals eventually reached a conclusion that most students agreed with: there is no way to keep all four dormitory dining halls open and not lose money. Students said that they wanted freedom to eat meals where it suits them -- and if they are given that freedom many students won't eat in dormitory dining halls.

Like proposals made last spring, the current proposal gives students a choice: Eat five meals a week in your dormitory dining hall or throw away $1,150. The plan pits this financial pressure against the realities of campus life that have caused the dining system to lose money in the past. Students have not used the dining halls because of the pressure of campus geography. Labs, UROPs, and athletics keep many, if not most, residents of McCormick Hall and Next, Baker, and MacGregor Houses away from home at dinner time. Forcing students to eat in their dormitory dining halls in order to make use of the money invested in their meal plans will force them to limit their studies and extracurricular activities. Students need the freedom to eat dinner where and when it is convenient for them.

The reason the current proposal and every other proposal offered by the administration will not work is painfully clear. The administration doggedly insists that all the dining halls must remain open. This insistence is will prevent the administration from ever solving the problem. If the number of students that the dining halls can serve is larger than the number of students who want to eat in them, then one or more of the dining halls must be closed or, as the administration has discovered, students must be forced to eat in them.

The UA was as surprised as anyone by the administration's announcement of the new plan. The UA has done students a real disservice by not treating the dining issue more seriously. Still, the UA represents the best medium for students to voice their displeasure. Hopefully if students attend the next UA Council meeting next Wednesday night, the UA will be spurred to action.

Take immediate action too. Lawrence E. Maguire is the director of housing and food services; write him a piece of electronic mail and ask him to change the dining system. Maguire reports to Senior Vice President William R. Dickson '56; perhaps he can be convince the Academic Council that is has made a mistake.

Maguire's e-mail address is: lmaguire@eagle.mit.edu.

Dickson's e-mail addres is: scrowley@eagle.mit.edu.