The recently updated card-swiping policy in the University’s dining halls presents quite a pickle for first-years and upperclassmen alike. While upperclassmen looking to score a free meal off first-years’ generous meal plans will certainly be inconvenienced by this more stringent policy, something more important is at stake.
Expensive dining plans are mandatory for all first-years living in housing. These plans are pre-purchased at the beginning of the school year, and their size cannot be changed or the excess refunded, even if the majority of first-years do not consume the food paid for. This raises the question of whether the University is counting on students not to utilize their meal plans to their full potential, thus garnering profit. (Perhaps, on the other hand, the University is trying to promote the onset of the fabled “freshman 15″ by forcing students to make the most of their money.)
While checking photo identification when swiping dining cards is a validand appreciatedgesture, students should not be constrained to spending dining points or Flex dollars. Unless students’ swiping others into dining halls causes major disruption of dining hall function, there is no legitimate reason for further regulating a student’s meal plan by limiting the number of card swipes per meal. Having been forced to purchase a meal plan, individual students deserve to use their meal points as they see fit. Whether they purchase meals for friends or upperclassmen is irrelevant to security and should not be punished by unnecessary inconveniences.