After spring break, the Presidential Dining Room stopped accepting student equivalency meal plans, and announced that it would now only accept cash and credit cards.
Equivalency meal plans allow students to access on-campus eateries such as the Orange Room, the Rattler’s Nest and the Food Court in the Student Services Center.
The President’s Dining Room, located near the Grand Ballroom, is a buffet-style restaurant that is open during weekday afternoons.
The change angered a number of students who used their equivalency meal plans to eat in the Dining Room.
Raushanah Morgan, 18, from Memphis, Tenn., believes the change is unfair, and she brought the issue to the student Senate with a group of fellow students Monday.
“I used to eat there every day and it’s unfair for equivalency to be offered throughout the year and all of a sudden just be cut off,” Morgan said.
The freshman business administration student also said she enjoyed eating at the Presidential Dining Room because it offers a healthier alternative to other campus eating facilities such as the Orange Room or Far East Fusion.
“I’ve eaten in Foote-Hilyer (The Rattler’s Nest which offers the same type of food as the Presidential Dining Room), but it’s inconvenient because it’s out of the way,” Morgan said.
Yvette Wilmoth, 21, a junior senator from Fort Lauderdale said “It seems odd to take students off equivalency in the middle of the semester when they’ve already paid (for that service).”
Wilmoth, a business administration student, worked with food services when she served as freshman class vice president.
Wilmoth said she remembers when her freshman class cabinet tested different eating areas on campus by trying the food, which led more students to eat in the Presidential Dining Room
According to Michael Smith, the auxiliary services director, the dining room went from accommodating catered events only to later becoming the faculty dining room. The Presidential Dining Room was at one point exclusively the faculty dining room and was not open to students.
Smith said the dining room is still the faculty dining room and the decision to no longer accept equivalency meal plans in that eating area stems from, “challenges dining services is having with the area and student conduct.”
Some faculty members have complained about students eating in the Presidential Dining Room, Smith added.
“We (auxiliary services) opened our retail outlets to students to give them more options, but some students act unruly, and that is unbecoming to what we want the dining room to be,” Smith said. “Some faculty members stopped bringing guests to the dining room because the environment was not conducive,” he said.
Wilmoth said she has also heard about the complaints by some faculty members.
“I want students to still have the opportunity to eat there, even if they just take out their food,” she said.
Cutting equivalency meal plans from the Presidential Dining Room doesn’t ban students from the dining room, but will lead to a decrease in the number of student patrons.
Smith said auxiliary services made the change to benefit all their customers, and students still have many places from which to eat.
“We had to make the decision to serve all of our customers,” Smith said. “We want to do everything we can to help students and faculty members.”
Contact Ebonie Ledbetter at email@example.com