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“It’s bullshit,” I heard one angered freshman say. “How is that even fair?”
But Bon Appétit insists that rolling back hours and tracking diners more closely is necessary to reel in costs.
“Emmanuel College and Bon Appétit are not trying to scam anyone, be unfair, nor are we trying to just be mean despite what some may think,” Dining Manager Ashley Fabriziani said. “We are just trying to find solutions before things become too out of control.”
Last semester, the Atrium Café’s hours and services were extended to accommodate the temporary closing of the Muddy River Cafe.
“With restricted space in the main dining room and a growing student body,” Fabriziani said, “students were free to take their food anywhere on campus last semester while the Muddy was renovated.”
But students who left the dining hall with dishes rarely returned them.
“We started noticing a lack of dishes coming back to us, and found them in dorms, scattered all over campus, at bus stops, and around the Fenway area,” she said. “Do you remember those light blue and yellow plates and bowls we had at the start of the year? Next time you’re in the dining room, try to take note how few of them are actually left.”
Now there are not enough dishes to serve everybody within one meal period.
Another problem: people are trying to eat without using a meal swipe — even if they aren’t Emmanuel students.
“If I were a student at Emmanuel, paying for my meal plan, seeing that and knowing that people are cheating their way in and driving my costs up would infuriate me,”Fabriziani said.
In another cost-cutting measure, Bon Appétit is using “clamshells” — plastic containers that can fit a full meal and can be taken out of the dining area.
Students must leave their ID with a cashier and then are given 15 minutes (or more, depending on line lengths) to fill up the clamshell before they go on their way.
Since I spoke to Fabriziani, a majority of the clamshells given out to students were not returned and ran out.
“All we have left to give out are smaller versions of the previous clamshell,” Fabriziani said, “which proves exactly why we started enforcing heavily that you cannot exit the dining room with any sort of china.”
That student that called the new policies “bullshit” may need to take a different approach, however.
Fabriziani suggests that students express their concerns by filling out the comment cards provided by Bon Appétit, and warns that outbursts will not be tolerated.
“If you are blatantly abusing the privileges or act out inappropriately towards a cashier or manager there is potential for you to face the Emmanuel judicial system,” she said.
Update: On March 5, 2013, the SGA hosted an open forum between Bon Appétit and students. Coverage of this meeting has been published by The Hub via Twitter.