At Wednesday’s Town Hall Meeting with Dining Services, one of the more surprising complaints brought up by students had to do with the rapport between students and dining service workers. While students spoke of bad attitudes and rudeness, both students and staff together make up the University community, and respect is a two-way street.

That is not to say that all complaints about the attitudes of dining workers are illegitimate – one student even told a story about a Pit worker who started cursing at her. However, students must also realize the conditions these workers face every day. There are currently over 20 vacant positions for dining staff – the different dining centers are clearly understaffed.

These vacancies have many implications for both dining staff and students. Perhaps most importantly, an understaffed dining center brings a whole new level of stress to both those working and those trying to eat. As frustrating as it is for students to wait at a long line at Blimpie – what about the single staff member working behind the counter?

The vacancies also create a need for many temporary workers. These employees, however, do not necessarily stay long enough to learn all the protocol to keep dining services running smoothly or create the necessary relationships with their coworkers or the students.

Students do, however, have many relationships with non-temporary staff members. And, it is invaluable when students and staff know each other by name and can talk about shared interests because it brings a new level of mutual respect to the staff-student relationship.

In light of the recent student complaints, it is clear that all participants need to work to improve the interactions between students and dining staff. If everyone presented a more positive and respectful attitude, he or she would find it a much more pleasant exchange with the person across the counter.

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