Foley students request DBA rebate

by Nicole Tsong | 10/27/97 6:00am

Students living in the Foley House submitted a proposal last week to the Dartmouth Dining Services advisory committee, asking that they be given rebates for money spent using their declining balance accounts, DDS Director Tucker Rossiter said.

The students living in Foley -- the West Street affinity house with no academic affiliation -- complain that the College's new dining plan works in opposition to the house's purpose. Students living in Foley join a communal meal program, in which residents take turns cooking dinner for each other.

Students living in Foley must pay at least $475 per term, plus a $50 surcharge. Foley Programming Liaison Austyn Fudge '98 said, "It makes it really hard to make Foley continue as it was. We can't afford dinners because we can't afford our DBA."

Residents of the Asian Studies Center and La Casa also cook meals communally. Because the College owns the facilities, residents are prohibited from selecting the off-campus dining option, which allows students to spend only $300 on-campus. The option includes a $100 surcharge.

"My plan right now is to take the concerns of each of the houses to the committee and get more input from students on the committee and thus evaluate," Rossiter said.

Rossiter already gave Foley House and the Asian Studies Center another alternative for using their DBA dollars.

"I've offered them each similar options where they could purchase bulk food through dining services, divide the price by the number of people in the house for the term and take it off their DBA", he said.

Chris Chambers, Acting Assistant Dean of Residential Life, said he believes the negotiations between DDS and the affinity houses are a positive course of action and present an opportunity to be creative.

"It seems to me, given some of their unique needs, that raising the issue and starting dialogue is a worthwhile process," Chambers said. "As the negotiations continue and options get defined, then things will get clearer. It would be impossible for me to predict what the outcome will be."

Fudge said the current dining option damages the atmosphere of the house.

The Foley House mission statement states, "More specific to its purpose and affinity, Foley House seeks to create through the medium of community dinners and cooperative management of the house a comfortable, actualizing space."

Fudge said dinners are integral to the Foley House experience. They "are the main way to maintain the cooperative atmosphere -- we maintain the quality of our house on a daily basis," she said.

Fudge said it is hard to judge exactly what the effects of the new dining plan will be on the house, but she expects people to eat dinner at the house less frequently once they realize how their DBA is faring further in the term.

"We want to preserve the parts of Foley that are important to us," she said.

Meier Hsu '98, the programming liaison at the Asian Studies Center, also objects to the new on-campus dining plan required of affinity houses.

Hsu said one of the requirements for living at the center is joining the cooking group. "We sit down at the table with the director from Beijing, China and communicate in Chinese," she said.

The new dining plan has resulted in decreased participation in the cooking group. According to Hsu, "We pay for those meals we cook for the group. One of the effects the dining plan has taken on us this term is we don't have any non-residents participating."

Hsu said three to four non-residents normally join the cooking group every term.

As for the offer made by DDS to buy food in bulk and sell it to the residents, Hsu said DDS is still in the process of getting prices for them if the option becomes viable.

"For the time being, the compromise is fine, but we're still trying to present our case to work on our dining plan to DDS," she said. "All we are asking for is to be more accommodating for our needs."

For Janelle Garrett '98, the program liaison at La Casa, the dining plan opposes one basic rationale for opting to live in an affinity house.

"One of the reasons people choose to live in a house like this is because it doesn't feel like a dorm and part of a community is having a kitchen and hanging out here," she said.

Dining together three times a week is also a part of La Casa's program.

Garrett said people don't hang out at the house as much as they did in former years. "There's already a big difference in the way the house functions from this year to last year," she said.

The College's affinity houses accommodate students looking for a more unique residential experience, ranging from cultural to academic, with distinct goals for each house.

Other affinity houses on campus include: Cutter/Shabazz, the International House, the Native Americans at Dartmouth house, the Francophone house, the Hillel apartments, the German apartments, the Russian suites and the Spanish apartments.