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Harvard Dining Halls To Stay Open, Decision Reversed

By Danielle J. Kolin and Naveen N. Srivatsa, Crimson Staff Writers

Following student opposition to College plans to close four House dining halls during Columbus Day weekend, the College administration announced that all undergraduate student dining halls will remain open throughout the holiday.

The decision came after “a number of students” told College staff they intended to stay on campus during the weekend, according to Faculty of Arts and Sciences spokesman Jeff Neal.

The College announced the change in an e-mail sent to students via House administrators.

Originally, Harvard University Hospitality and Dining Services had planned to close dining halls in Currier, Dunster, Kirkland, and Winthrop Houses during Columbus Day weekend “in an effort to be fiscally responsible at a time of continued financial constraints,” according to an e-mail sent by HUHDS spokeswoman Crista Martin.

Several students criticized the anticipated closures, arguing they would cut the gross pay of dining hall employees and pose an inconvenience to undergraduates.

In an e-mail to The Crimson, Neal said the College received no formal complaint from the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers.

No new dining hall closures are expected this year, he added.

Students also questioned the transparency of HUHDS’ decision-making process, citing the dining service’s failure to send a public announcement to the student body.

HUHDS had posted the closures on its online calendar.

In Currier House, about 180 students signed a petition urging HUHDS to reverse its initial decision.

One of the petitioners, Currier House Committee secretary Amy Rosenthal ’11, said HUHDS’ reversal was “obviously the right decision.”

“In terms of the loss of salary to the workers, it [would have been] terrible, and in terms of the inconvenience to the students, I don’t think they [HUHDS] had thought everything through because people will be on campus and they will want to eat,” Rosenthal said.

Following HUHDS’ reversal, Dunster House Committee social chair Annemette H. Harnes ’12 said she found it “nice to know that the administration is actually listening to students.”

—Staff writer Danielle J. Kolin can be reached at dkolin@fas.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Naveen N. Srivatsa can be reached at srivatsa@fas.harvard.edu.

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