Students and administrators asked Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) to price-out several plans to extend or reform dining hall hours yesterday at a meeting of a subcommittee of the Committee on House Life (CHL) charged with examining dining hall hours and inter-house restrictions.
The committee asked HUDS Director for Finance, Information Systems and Procurement Raymond R. Cross to price several plans, which included possible differentiation of hours between houses within the same “neighborhood,” the elimination of “low-volume” meals such as Saturday breakfast and Friday dinner, and extending dinner hours in all houses by one hour.
While student representatives indicated that the ideal solution would be to offer some form of food 24 hours a day, representatives of HUDS explained that any gains in services would require a trade-off, with students either forfeiting some current services or paying a higher board rate.
HUDS anticipates that its operating costs will likely increase by $1,760,550 in the coming year as a result of the expense of renegotiating its labor contract and the rising cost of food and utilities.
The proposed increase in the board rate for the 2006-2007 academic year will cover $834,010.
The meeting is the first of two planned discussions before the sub-committee will report to the CHL with a proposal aimed at solving what the Student Affairs Committee of the Undergraduate Council (UC) has characterized as a flagship issue.
Last spring, the UC conducted a survey of 270 students which indicated that 87 percent of students would likely eat dinner in the dining halls after 7:15 p.m. if that was possible.
UC representatives present at the meeting said that they would like to take the issue to constituents either informally through discussions or formally through a referendum after the exact costs of the different proposals are known.
Current dining hall hours are 7:30-10:00 a.m., 12:00-2:15 p.m. and 5-7:15 p.m. each day, with the three quad houses having 15 additional minutes added to the end of lunch and dinner, according to the HUDS website.
Seven of the 12 house dining halls have some form of inter-house dining restrictions—all but Cabot, Currier, Dunster, Pforzheimer, and Mather.