Guest swipe initiatives at a standstill
Despite much student outcry in the fall semester, any initiatives to amend the guest swipe policy are “currently on hold,” according to SGA At-Large Senator and Chair of the Student Life Committee Derel Stroud.
According to Stroud, due to the death of Mary Goff, director of Card Services, in the fall, Card Services is currently trying to pull everything together, and there is currently no timeline for initiatives regarding meal plans.
“There have been attempts to amend the policy,” Stroud said. “My committee has been in contact with GDS, and we learned that there was a ‘glitch’ in the system, allowing students to swipe as much as they wanted, and according to Gourmet Dining Services, it wasn’t intended to work that way.”
Stroud said he would not comment on some of the “long-term” alternatives which SGA and GDS have also discussed, but classified all plans as “currently on hold.”
However, Stroud said he is interested in making students happy.
“I do in fact think that the policy needs to be amended,” Stroud said. “While I can understand the policy from both ends, I do believe it would be beneficial if the University considered revising the policy allowing students to use the swipes as they please.”
As reported in The Setonian on Oct. 28, when the new policy was implemented, students expressed dissatisfaction with the policy, especially those who often had guests visit them on-campus.
Jeffrey Hurrin, assistant vice president for Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs, who spoke on behalf of GDS and Card Services, said the University “sets the parameters” on guest meals, and that policy has not changed in five years, since guest meals were first added to meal plan options.
Hurrin also said allowing students “unlimited” guest swipes would be unfair to a majority of meal plan holders.
“If students desire an ‘unlimited guests’ meal plan, they need to purchase meal plan four,” Hurrin said.
“It is currently our least popular plan. To price all meal plans to accommodate ‘unlimited guests’ would be unfair to a large majority of our students on meal plans.”
Option IV is an exception to the swipe rule because it does not offer guest meals, but only 12 regular weekly meals which re-set every Sunday night, according to the GDS website.
Meal plan holders who have plans with designated guest meals are allocated five per semester.
According to Hurrin, there have been some “minor complaints.” However, he said when the policy was explained, and students were told there was never a “change” to the meal plan purchased, they then understood.
Stroud said SGA and the Student Life Committee “certainly were not pleased” with the enforcement of the policy after the glitch was detected.
According to Stroud, SGA felt if students pay for meal plans, they should be able to utilize swipes at their leisure.
Hurrin did not comment on the possibility of any amending of the meal plan policy, but Stroud said he hopes to pursue the matter further.
“I hope that we are able to develop some meal plan changes to propose to the university to make the meal plan system easier for students,” Stroud said. “I hope to be able to address this issue once more this semester.”
Stroud added that he is interested in a final initiative this semester because he will not seek re-election with SGA next year.
Prior to her passing, Goff told The Setonian on Oct. 28 that students who are dissatisfied with the new policy and wish to use their meal plan as they choose should voice their concerns, and the rule should be changed.
Samantha Desmond can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org