Campus Dining has decided to freeze the Preferred Dining fee at $325 for up to three years. The decision, which came last Friday, May 11, follows a May 4 report released by the Baker House Dining committee, which found that the average Baker resident loses $125 per term through Preferred Dining. Preferred Dining costs $300 this term; a $25 price hike for fall term was announced earlier this year.
The Baker House Dining Committee responded to the pricing freeze on May 14, calling Campus Dining's decision "unacceptable" and saying that the increase of Preferred Dining costs from $300 to $325 "shows [Campus Dining's] inclination to increase cost to students rather than control system costs and make operational improvements."
Baker House residents refused to pay more than the price of $300 for the fall term in a vote last Monday, May 7.
Richard D. Berlin III, director of Campus Dining, said he could not comment yesterday due to lack of time but that Dining was moving forward as described in its May 11 response to the original Baker report.
Freezing the fee at $325 for the next few years or until an alternate program can be developed "means that incoming freshman [sic] and current residents will not experience another increase in the fee during their time at MIT," Dining's May 11 response states. "This will also provide opportunity to thoroughly examine alternative approaches and/or modifications to the House Dining system without undermining the current service."
The Baker House Dining committee, according to its response, expects Campus Dining to endorse a Preferred Dining fee reduction schedule voted on by Baker House at its House meeting last Monday, May 7. The vote passed unanimously, 49-0-0. The resolution was sent to Berlin, as was the May 4 Baker House Dining Report.
The proposed fee reduction would begin immediately, with the abolishment of the planned fee increase for next term. It would follow with a $25 per term decrease until the price matched the original Preferred Dining price adjusted for inflation.
Campus Dining, in its May 11 response, stated that rollback of the Preferred Dining fee to $300 for next semester "is not possible at this time" and that the fee reduction schedule proposed "will not be endorsed." Dining said that implementation of the reduction schedule would result in the closure of Baker Dining.
The Baker House Dining committee said in its May 14 response that Dining fails to explain why Baker Dining is losing over $100,000 a year.
"If [Campus Dining] is unwilling to adhere to the House Meeting Vote then, in accordance with the resolution, Baker House cannot participate in [Preferred Dining]," the May 14 Baker House response to Campus Dining stated.
"Baker House only agreed to a one-term [Preferred Dining] trial, and explicitly voted against permanent participation at its inception," said David Dryjanski '07, a member of the Baker House Dining committee. According to the May 14 response, Baker House reserves the right to revoke Preferred Dining. The one-term provisional trial was voted on and approved in 2003, according to the Baker Dining report.
"The next step is to work with the [Division of Student Life] administration to achieve a satisfactory resolution and ensure that the rights of Baker House are respected," Dryjanski wrote in the e-mail.
See Dining's May 11 response at http://www-tech.mit.edu/V127/N26/bakerdining/diningresponse.pdf and Baker's May 14 response to Dining at http://www-tech.mit.edu/V127/N26/bakerdining/bakerresponse.pdf.