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Mess Dampers Late Nights in Lowell

By Sam J. Lin, Contributing Writer

One day after 24-hour access debuted in Lowell House dining hall, unspecified damages occurred there late Wednesday night, prompting House administrators to temporarily revoke the hall’s late-night hours.

Twenty-four hour access will return to Lowell on Sunday night.

House administrators hope to accommodate students looking for a late-night study or social space with the new hours, which will be in effect Sunday through Thursday, according to Senior Tutor Jay L. Ellison.

But on Wednesday, “there was some damage done in the dining hall” and “a lot of beer bottles, cans, cups, and other trash” were left in the dining hall, Ellison wrote in an e-mail sent yesterday to notify Lowell residents of the problem.

“This is inappropriate for a space that we are trying to make available for you,” Ellison wrote in the e-mail.

Ellison also said that drinking alcoholic beverages is not permitted “in the Dining Hall, JCR, or any publicly accessible space (such as the courtyards).”

Yesterday, Ellison told The Crimson that Wednesday night’s damage would not change the plan to make the dining hall a 24-hour establishment.

“It was a disappointment and a surprise, but we think it is an isolated incident and it will not affect our commitment to leave the dining hall open,” Ellison wrote in an e-mail.

When Ellison e-mailed residents on Tuesday to tell them about the dining hall’s new hours, he requested that students respect maintenance crews and take care of the facility after the cleaning crews leave at night.

In addition to giving students all-night access to the dining hall Sundays through Thursdays, officials extended the dining hall’s hours on Friday and Saturday nights from 8 p.m. to 12:45 a.m.

“We know the students use the dining hall a lot at night, and we just noticed that they were in there later and later, and they had to leave because the cleaning crew comes through,” Ellison said in an interview on Tuesday. “We thought it was something the students might like.”

Ellison said the new hours reflect students’ need for more study space, especially where they can both work and socialize.

“In the library, they have to be quiet, but here there’s a place they can work together and talk about things,” Ellison said.

The new 24-hour schedule puts Lowell House in the company of many other Houses, including Eliot, Cabot, Dunster, Currier, Adams, Winthrop and Pforzheimer, which are open as a student space at all hours—either because the dining hall can’t close due to house design or because of House policy.

While the Lowell House dining hall itself will remain open for longer hours, the kitchen staff will not be working overtime.

Still, Ellison said he hopes to bring extra snacks to Lowell House late at night.

“We’re hoping we can get more brain break food,” he said.

Lowell residents were enthusiastic about the new hours, whether or not they anticipated using the space for academic purposes.

“I’m happy because it’s convenient to get drinks whenever I want,” said Denise S. Tai ’06, a Lowell resident. “It was an unexpected surprise to learn about it in the e-mail.”

Lowell resident Jason A. Williams ’04 said he was looking forward to having an alternative study space.

“You definitely need a place to study after the libraries close,” he said. “It will be a big advantage during midterms and exam periods.”

In an interview prior to Wednesday night’s vandalism, Williams presciently added that students would be unlikely to clean up after themselves when using the dining hall in the wee hours.

“People won’t respect the space; it will get dirty or messy over time, but maybe I should have more faith in the students,” Williams said.

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