Jan 242008
Authors: Kaeli West

Some Newsom residents are up in arms over the upcoming closure of the residence hall’s dining room and say they’re not giving it up without a fight.

Earlier this week, Dining and Housing Services announced that Newsom’s dining hall would be closed after Spring Break, in conjunction with the opening of the lower level of Academic Village Dining Hall. Housing and Dining Services have also planned to close the Ingersoll and Edwards Dining Halls after the spring semester, planning to consolidate the residence halls’ dining services into the new dining hall.

Deon Lategan, Director of Dining Services, sees consolidation as a necessary move for more cost-effective operations with better service and food.

Construction has been ongoing in the Academic Village, and Lategan said students at the Academic Village have waited long enough and deserve to see some returns from the project.

“We feel very strongly that we need to have something open before the end of the school year,” said Lategan. “We had never planned to close Newsom early. Due to budget problems and construction delays we didn’t have a choice.”

But students argue that it is unfair for Newsom’s dining hall to be shut down halfway through the semester, and as Newsom is already a busy cafeteria, the dining hall at the Academic Village will be far too crowded.

Paul Wade, president of Newsom Hall Council, has already helped organize student protesters, and says 400 students have signed the petition so far.

“It’s a convenience issue . we don’t want a conglomerated dining hall,” Wade said. “This affects other students on campus long-term as well, we understand. But we were guaranteed a dining hall for the full school year.”

Other students echoed similar concerns, saying that they had been misled when they first came to the hall.

“We all signed up for this residence hall because there was a dining hall in it,” Katie Dalsimer, a freshman graphic design major, said.

While some students at the Academic Village would prefer to see Newsom remain open, some are eager to get their grub from the new dining hall.

“I’m way stoked. I can’t wait for it to be open . I thought it was going to open earlier,” says Greg Broughton, a freshman engineering major. “I don’t care if (Newsom) stays closed . as long as something opens before this closes.”

Wade says he’s frustrated that the Housing and Dining Services are not communicating more with students. Wade hopes meeting with two directors from Housing and Dining will explain the latest updates of Newsom and the new Academic Village.

“We believe that if enough students show, we can preserve the dining hall,” Wade said.

Lategan hopes to set residences’ minds at ease and present the cause for closing Newsom before the end of the school year while still listening to the students’ perspectives.

The meeting to discuss the fate of Newsom Dining Hall and express thoughts will be held Sunday at 7 p.m. in the Newsom TV Lounge.

Staff writer Kaeli West can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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