Page 4 - 2nd Issue

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By Jason Rose
I recently witnessed a scene that has
become all too typical in Tucker
Dining Hall – the room was fairly empty.
Everyone scanned ID cards except one,
who emitted what I interpreted as a
guttural yell of frustration when asked
to produce the card for scanning.
There seems to be a renewed
enforcement of the scanning policy at
Tucker. Those that were here in previous
years have no doubt noticed the change.
Students could previously eat without a
card, either by having the cashier type
their name in or walking in through the
back doors.
This is not the case currently, though.
Signs forbidding unpaid dining
decorate the doors and students are now
being asked to leave when they enter
without a card. Many rumors have been
foating around as to the reason for this
One is that if we don’t scan, Tucker
doesn’t get paid. I was eating breakfast
one morning with friends who hadn’t
scanned their cards (I scanned, of
course, as I do before every meal with
diligent fervor), and an employee told
us this. The rumor is just that, a rumor,
said Brian Dittmer, executive vice
president of our food provider.
Pfoodman is a company contracted by
William Woods. The university submits
the number of residential students with
a meal plan each semester,
according to Venita Mitchell, vice
president and dean of student life at
WWU. The school is then billed based
on that number. Pfoodman gets paid a
set amount, and it seems our
informant was mistaken.
So, if they do get paid, why the card?
According to Dittmer, it is for
accounting purposes.
“Scanning cards gives us a clear
number on how much food to prepare.
We get food production sheets each day
based on the numbers we scan.”
It seems this could result in an inaccurate
food tracking – we all know how many
people actually do scan cards. Suffce it to
say, not many. Getting students to
comply, though, has clearly proven diffcult.
“One of the issues with the dining hall
is that it is hard to control. To cover the
doors we’d need fve cashiers, and that
isn’t feasible or cost-effective.”
Another contributor, said Dittmer, is
food theft.
“In the past there has been leniency, but
the more commuter students we get, the
students without meal plans, the more
food theft there is,” said Dittmer.
“Commuter students will sneak in, people
will let others in through the side doors,
people check to see if we’re scanning and
let other people know…it’s maddening.”
So, they need to know that we do, in fact,
have meal plans.
“We don’t know everyone that’s on the
plan. I know a few students by name, a
few by face, but we don’t know everyone.
We want to ensure that those who are
entitled to food get that food, and that those
who haven’t purchased the food do not.”
So another question comes up – why
can’t we scan our cards for other people?
If we paid for it, then why can’t we give
that meal to someone else?
“The idea is that the food is for the
student and we don’t want them to run
out of meals,” said Dittmer.
Many students will argue that it should
be up to us, since the meal is technically
the student’s upon purchase. However,
another concern is that, with an excess
in people eating, there will be a defcit
in food.
“In a worst-case scenario, we could have
an extra number of people eating, which
would be an extreme rise from our
normal production level, and we could
run out.”
Don’t Bite
The Hand That Feeds
editor in chief
Patrice Basso
managing editors
Dani Moritz
Jason Rose
news editor
Molly Dougherty
features editor and
entertainment editor
Brooke Thibodaux
design editors
Frankie Hart
Meghan Greenwalt
photo editor
Aaron Griffin
While the possibility of that happening
is very low, they still fnd it a concern.
Another issue, said Dittmer, is that there
isn’t anything in the student handbook
regarding Tucker regulations.
“It will be very clear in the future what a
student can or can’t do.”
Other schools do similar things, so maybe
leniency in the past is really just passing
with time. After talking to students at
different universities, we found that
Missouri State University, the University
of Missouri, the University of Nebraska and
the University of Kansas all require a card
to get food.
And so, Tucker and Pfoodman would
encourage us to not bite the hand that
feeds… or at least let out a ridiculous yell
when asked to scan an ID card. Either
way, it seems that the enforcement will
not change. If you want food, bring
your card.