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          Editorial: Although meal plan policy remains unchanged, policy seems fundamentally flawed

          Issue date: 4/16/10 Section: Opinion
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          The recent anger and frustration at Case's and Bon Appétit's decision to enforce the four-meal-swipe-per-day limit seems to be fairly nonsensical, especially considering that meal swipes have never technically been transferable amongst students and that a guest pass program has always been available to students on meal plans through Auxiliary Services in Crawford Hall. Talk of protests of Bon Appétit services will do nothing to solve the inherent problems in the meal swipe system and will only lead to a vast waste of food and money, as students pay for all of their meal swipes regardless of whether they use them.

          That being said, the meal plans available for students seem to be fundamentally flawed. Although there is, as Case and Bon Appétit administrators describe, a "missed meal factor," there is little transparency on the part of either group as to how this factor is established and how its existence supposedly decreases the price of meal plans for students overall. Furthermore, there is no budget or breakdown of funds available for students' use that clearly outlines how their money is being spent by Auxiliary Services or Bon Appétit. Thanks to Case's and Bon Appétit's failure to disseminate information, it is unsurprising that students view this recent enforcement against non-transferable meal swipes as unfair, and as an additional restriction on what students have already paid for.

          Additionally, the guest pass policy is particularly stringent. Students on any type of weekly meal swipe plan are entitled to two guess passes for the entire semester, while students on block plans can receive up to five. Since most students are on the weekly swipe plans, it seems unfair to restrict them to only two guest passes a semester. What happens on a weekend family visit? Typically, two parents will come to visit, and perhaps a younger sibling or two will tag along, as well as the long-distance significant other. For the thousands of dollars students pay into the meal plans each semester, it seems unreasonable that students are so limited in the number of guest passes available to them throughout the year.

          Finally, we want to applaud the efforts campus groups are making to fix this problem. Undergraduate Student Government's vice president of student life Minh-Tri Nguyen and Residence Hall Association's vice president of residential relations Matt Keller have both been particularly active in working with Bon Appétit to communicate students' feedback and concerns to administrators. Incoming RHA VP/residential relations Kayla Wheeler has also been instrumental in organizing the upcoming RHA Food Forum so that students can voice their opinions directly. Luckily, representatives from these and other organizations continue to work with both sides to create a solution for the problem at hand.
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