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Interhouse Restrictions on Dining at Annenberg Loosened

By Baratunde R. Thurston

Interhouse restrictions at Annenberg Hall have been lifted between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., but first-years can sponsor one upperclass student for a meal at any time, according to Dean of Freshmen Elizabeth Studley Nathans.

"We of course didn't allow guests the first couple of days Annenberg was open," Nathans wrote in an e-mail message yesterday. "But as far as we're concerned, the guest policy is unchanged [from the Union policy]."

Despite Nathans' statement, students said they have noticed a change, and the policy has apparently created confusion among Harvard Dining Services staff as well.

On Tuesday, Nathans explained the new policy to the Undergraduate Council's Freshman Caucus.

Yet when council Secretary Lamelle D. Rawlins '99 tried to eat at Annenberg with council President Robert M. Hyman '98-'97 later that day, he was prohibited from entering.

Rawlins said yesterday that she told the Annenberg staff that Nathans had just informed them that upperclass students would be permitted to eat there as guests of first-years.

But Rawlins said the Annenberg checkers told her that Nathans sent them an e-mail message that day which said interhouse restrictions had been lifted from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., but did not mention anything about other meal times.

Assistant Director of Annenberg Hall/Loker Commons Charles B. Wilcots intervened and allowed Hyman to eat.

"It was simple miscommunication," Wilcots said. "It's about the difference between interhouse [policy] and guest [policy]."

Interhouse policies are rules governing when non-residents can eat at a certain dining halls, whereas guest policies usually deal with the number of non-Harvard guests a student may sponsor and when.

Many first-years say this distinction has yet to be clarified for them.

"I have always been told that upperclassmen couldn't eat at Annenberg under any circumstances," said Sharif M. Roach '99.

First-year prefects have sometimes been denied entrance to Annenberg, although they have interhouse privileges at the new dining hall.

"I don't think students should blame the dining hall staff for not being able to eat there," said Peter S. Cahn '96, a prefect. "I think freshmen should have priority and shouldn't have to wait in line for food."

Other upperclass students said they see the new policy as a definite improvement over the original rules.

"I think [the policy] makes sense," said Susan M. Groppi '98, a Dunster House resident who said she only eats lunch twice a week. "Although it would be more convenient for upperclassmen if we could eat there without being guests...it is the freshman dining hall."

But for other students, nothing less than restriction-free dining will be enough.

"I still think removing all inter-house restrictions is where we should be headed," Andre C. Gnepp '99 said.

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