Administrators will meet today to discuss the long-overdue final version of next year?s new dining plans.

President Thomas Jackson, Provost Charles Phelps and others will consider the dining committee?s final recommendations, Director of Purchasing Quentin Roach said.

This week, students received their residential contracts and tuition increases were revealed, yet there is still no word about dining plans, which were to be announced Feb. 5.

?With any luck it will be approved by the senior leadership,? Roach said.

Jackson said that proposed plans had been sent to him earlier this year but he sent them back partly because he opposed the fixed costs built into them.

Roach said that the delay is because the dining committee has analyzed different meal plan structures in order to support various university initiatives, such as freshman housing.

Furthermore, coordinating schedules of many different committee members in order to analyze aspects of dining which include feasibility and marketing on top of the meal plans has taken time, he said.

Students can get a vague idea of next year?s dining options by reading the newly released Residential Life and Dining Services booklet for 2001-2002, which contains a general overview.

There will be a declining balance option which will allow students flexibility on how to spend their money. There will no longer be a block plan. Instead, there will be a ?declining plus? option which will guarantee students a certain number of meals plus a small declining balance fund. The Flex account will function more or less as it has this year.

However, vital details are missing. The number of meals per week, the cost of foods and plans and the issue of an overhead fixed cost are not mentioned.

?They sent out propaganda. The university expects students to hand in a contract. This isn?t a contract. This doesn?t tell you what a dining plan is ? it just tells you it exists,? Mallach said.

The student dining committee last made recommendations to the administrators in mid-December.

?We have been out of the loop since then. As the administration has been working on this for the past three months, there has been no student input,? said sophomore Lonny Mallach, chair of the student dining committee and Students? Association chief of staff.

The student dining committee is not to be confused with the dining committee that sends final recommendations to administrators.

Mallach said that within the student recommendations was a combo plan that combines block and declining balance as well as a separate declining plan. The committee recommended that students on higher plans get more savings.

?The recommendation was to remove the overhead cost and build it into the price of food,? Mallach said.

This would essentially remove the hidden cost and put the burden of that cost on everyone ? whether they use dining plans, Flex or cash.

As students await the announcement, Roach explained that a lot of the student input from the student dining committee, focus groups and comment cards is incorporated into the recommended plan.

?I hope that it?ll be a plan that will be cheaper to be on than Flex, so that?s students want to be on and won?t be forced to be on,? Mallach said.



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