Dining Hall Thefts: A Matter of Obscure Policy

Wilson College’s Jensen Dining Hall released an email on September 27, 2013 regarding food being taken out of the actual dining area. The email sent out clearly stated that no student should take out food for any reason, yet they noticed just that was occurring. Students will find that the policy for the dining hall is not easily accessible.

The meal plan Wilson College offers to students does not allow the removal of food from the hall, with one exception. The dining hall permits residents of the Women With Children program to take lunches out for their children in designated containers.

Some students have been violating the policy as well as the honor principle by taking food.

The email even stated, “recently there have been a few students filling up personal Tupperware containers and Ziploc bags with food and removing it from the dining hall.”

Even though these actions breach the policy, students seem to find it acceptable.

“If it’s something little, like a sandwich, I don’t see a problem with it,” said Jamie Strawbridge ‘14.

At the same time, some students did not even realize Wilson College had a policy for the dining hall, or did not think it mattered to read it.

There has only been one case of a student being taken to honor council related with the Dining Hall, but that incident was not food related.

“I had glanced at the policy for the dining hall before, but I definitely did not read the fine details,” said Monica Drummond ’14.  She continued to state her feelings toward the policy. “The policy is not unreasonable, it is the only way to prevent people from taking food out to their friends who do not have meal plans or do not go to Wilson,” said Drummond.

Tim Dawe, the Food Service Director for SAGE Dining Services, explained that the Dining Hall policy has been in place for over five years.

“The only change that has taken effect in the past two or three years has been the change in the to-go boxes, said Dawes.”

This change was to an environmentally friendly and reusable container that replaced the disposable boxes used to carry the food out of the hall.

Although Dawes speaks of a written policy, students may find it difficult to reference., since it currently exists in fragments online.

Dawe said that taking food from the dining hall is an issue specifically addressed within the hall’s written policy: one cannot remove food from the dining hall. Food can only be consumed within the hall.

Another factor that contributes to the dining hall thefts is the number of hours it is open throughout the day. Students feel rushed to make meal times and international students must adjust to the early service schedule.

“This is the only college I know that you have to schedule your day around your meals,” said Drummond.

Dawe claims the dining hall staff has no control over this factor. “We could open at 1 am, it doesn’t matter to me, it is what the school decides,” said Dawe.

Attempts for café-style stands previously failed around campus and one cause was a lack of community support. The recent dining hall thefts and concerns over the hall’s inflexible schedule might mean that the community might be ready to support these ventures, especially if it means having a convenient food source.

For further information on the dining hall, or to discuss changes and issues with its policy, please contact Tim Dawe at tdawe@wilson.edu.

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