September 21, 2011

Anti-smuggling policy initiated for Dining Services

Starting this term, the anti-smuggling policy prohibiting bags from the Out Post or “C-store” will also apply to the Oak Room and Hard Knox Café in an attempt to eliminate theft of food.

According to Student Senate Dining Services Committee Chair, junior Kaitlyn Duling, the policy will act as an extension of the anti-theft policy in the C-Store.

“Students are being asked to leave all large bags at the front of the cafeteria, much like the bag policy in the C-Store. We can pick them up as we leave,” Duling said.

Director of Dining Services, Helmut Mayer, and Duling both attributed the policy’s installation to an increase in “shrinkage,” or food theft.

“The why is easy to answer; we do have a lot of product disappearing, that’s really the main reason to do it. Anything from the whole three gallon tub of ice cream to six pounds of almonds suddenly being gone,” Mayer said.

The disappearance of dishes, cups and silverware has also contributed to the ban. Duling explained the problem in terms of the value of meal swipes.

“There have been significant problems with students taking whole loaves of bread, containers of ice cream and sacks full of almonds,” Duling said. “When we’re only paying $7 to $11 per meal, all the extra food and dishes that disappear really make a difference.”

The policy has been met with less opposition than anticipated.

“Actually, I expected more complaints about it, but it hasn’t been bad at all. On the comment board there are less than I would have expected,” Mayer said.

Both Mayer and Duling also addressed any future grievances and insisted that the policy is in no way unheralded.

“In the future there may be some, there will always be some grievances about something anyway, it’s impossible to make them all happy and trying to meet every demand would be futile,” Mayer said. “If it stays the way it is I don’t think we should have a problem, especially for the new kids, it’s easy to adapt. And then some of the older ones who don’t like the idea, you know, tough luck.”

“Some students feel that Dining Services shouldn’t have the right to make us stow the backpacks. The truth is, we’ve been doing it in the C-Store for a long time now with no problems. Most other colleges have similar policies,” Duling said.

Students opposing the policy claim that they are wary leaving their belongings unattended.

“I get that they don’t want us stealing food, but at the same time we don’t want to have anything stolen from us either. I get a little worried when I’m sitting somewhere where I can’t see my bag,” freshman Adrian Moreno said.

In response to the concerns, Duling and Mayer detailed efforts to quell the worry.

“A few students have raised concerns about the possibility of items being stolen. As far as I know, there have only been two incidents of loss, and they were both resolved. That’s all I know of,” Duling said.

Mayer has stated that more attention will be paid to the bags while they are on the racks.

“The plan is just to keep them in sight, that way I think that there is much less chance of somebody stealing something from somebody else,” Mayer said. “There is constant traffic, there is always in and out and there is always somebody there.”

The apparent benefits of the policy are controlled food costs and freer walking spaces in the dining areas.

“I’ve already noticed much more space in the Caf; it’s easier to walk around, pull out chairs and move tables. The policy will also help to keep our meal prices stable and encourage use of the “clamshell” takeout containers,” Duling said.

Julian Boireau
Julian Boireau is a senior majoring in international relations and minoring in French. This is his fourth year working for TKS, having served as co-news editor during his sophomore and junior years. He has been involved in journalism for seven years, serving as opinions editor of the newspaper and editor-in-chief of the literary magazine at Palisades Charter High School in Los Angeles, California. In September 2012, Julian received press credentials to attend the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, where he reported on remarks by President Barack Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He is also the recipient of back-to-back first place awards from the Illinois College Press Association for front page layout.

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