DEAN FOX'S DECISION to limit hot breakfasts to four Houses and his subsequent announcement that neither Mather nor Dunster would be one of the four represents at best an inexcusable ignorance of student preferences for living conditions and at worst a conscious and paternalistic disregard for student and worker input in general. Fox and other administrators decided the breakfast issue as though from an ivory tower, making little effort to ascertain student opinion on the subject--and so chose an unimaginative plan that almost no one likes.
Aside from brief discussion with some North House students, University Hall administrators seem to have actively avoided student comment before making their decision, as is evidenced by the responses of surprise and opposition from CHUL and several House committees. At the risk of catering to sectionalism, it is safe to say that the exclusion of Mather and Dunster Houses from the hot breakfast group is a short-sighted move, one that is insensitive to its impact on already unpopular Mather. To argue that the Mather-Dunster kitchen must be closed for breakfast to obtain maximum savings is specious: if the hot breakfast is to be rotated from House to House, as Fox has said he hopes to do, these savings will disappear next year anyway. Starting the cycle in Mather or Dunster would make no financial difference; but it would probably help to offset Mather's other problems, such as overcrowding, an unfavorable sex ratio, and distance from the Yard. These problems are so severe that Fox should consider opening Mather and Lowell for hot breakfasts, instead of Leverett and Quincy, a plan that would require the opening of no more kitchens than does the plan Fox approved.
The saddest part of the Fox breakfast decision is not the dislocation it will bring to students and workers but the fact that the whole problem may have been unavoidable. Dean Rosovsky and Fox dismissed out of hand the possibility of retaining hot breakfasts in all Houses, a move that would have cost each student an extra $18 to $30 in board fees each year. Administrators did not look seriously at the 14-meal plan, an option that would allow students to decide for themselves how important breakfast is to them. At the very least Fox should rotate the hot breakfasts each semester or perhaps monthly, since the limited breakfast plan may not survive long enough to give each House a chance at the good life.