In response to a request by several House masters for a 15-meal-a-week board contract for students who do not remain in residence on week-ends, Edward Reynolds, Administrative Vice President of the University, replied in a letter released yesterday that the adoption of this plan is not practical for College Dining Halls.
Reynolds said that during the past 11 months operation, College Dining Halls served 906,217 meals at an average cost of $0.628 while receiving an average price of $0.619 per meal.
The present board rate of $10.50 per week or 50 cents per meal is in keeping with the University's policy of holding student board bills as low as possible and still covering expenses, the letter continued. Reynolds pointed out that the nominal charge of 50 cents per meal does not cover the cost of each meal. The cost of each meal to the University is roughly 63 cents: 30 cents for food, 20 cents for labor, and 13 cents for other expenses.
To make up for this difference the University officials take into consideration the fact the the average student consumes only 16 meals per week. Reynolds emphasized the fact that a student who eats every meal receives over $13 worth of food for his $10.50.
Expressing the fact that the dining hall service is maintained for the students on much the same principle as the Infirmary, since it does not distribute cost proportionally, Reynolds opinion was that the University could not set a special rate for the five-day resident since it would involve speculation as to how many meals he would miss.
Another reason for refusal of the plan was that in the past the University has taken into consideration the fact that the weekend is the period of greatest absenteeism and had compensated for this fact both in running the dining halls and in charging the students.
Since the dining halls run on a close margin and one year's surplus has to balance another's deficit, adoption of this plan would mean a commensurate rise in either the seven-day resident rate or in the charge per meal, Reynolds concluded.