The recent reduction in the Student Center Coffeehouse's operating hours can be traced to homeless people using the location during early morning hours, according to Phillip J. Walsh, director of the Campus Activities Complex, which runs the Coffeehouse.
The space, which is usually open 24 hours a day, has been closed between the hours of 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. lately. Starting Monday, the Coffeehouse will return to a 24 hour schedule.
Walsh pointed to the poor weather as a possible cause for the influx of vagrants into the space.
A student raised concerns about the reduced operating hours this week to the CAC advisory board, sparking the decision to reopen the venue for 24 hour operation. "We were going to do it anyways around [the] second or third week of April," Walsh said.
The CAC tried to work with the Campus Police and CAC employees to deal with the influx of homeless people, according to Walsh, but ultimately chose to reduce the Coffeehouse hours.
Walsh said that the recently renovated Student Center reading room is an alternative space for students to go during the early morning hours to study. Before the reading room became more popular after renovation, the Coffeehouse served a greater role in providing a 24 hour study location for students.
According to Walsh, the Coffeehouse will be renovated this summer, although no specific plans are set. Possibilities include the addition of more lighting and windows. The Coffeehouse last underwent a renovation in 2000, controversial because of the addition of more modern decor.
First open in the 1970s, the Coffeehouse once served as one of the primary food vendors in the Student Center. Since then, it has provided a unique study area for the MIT community with comfortable furnishings and music.
In 2002, the Coffeehouse reduced operating hours, the first change in schedule since its inception. The Coffeehouse closed in December 2003 because of increased competition with other food vendors in the Student Center. At that time, the student-run operation was earning approximately 15 dollars a day.
In addition to serving as a location for students to study and socialize, the Coffeehouse also hosts events varying from musical performances to cultural gatherings.