There’s no such things as free breakfast

Due to a glitch in the Carte Blanche dining system, some students with Plan C, which does not offer unlimited access to Eickhoff Dining Hall before 11 a.m., thought that they were getting free breakfast for the first few weeks of the semester. However, Sodexho Dining Services, the company that supplies all food on campus, discovered the glitch and will deduct points from students who received free breakfasts during that time.

With Carte Blanche Plan C, students may eat in Eickhoff between the hours of 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. without the deduction of any of their $150 in points, which they can spend at other dining locations. If the student enters before 11 a.m., $3.75 is deducted from his or her point total.

However, from the start of the Spring 2005 semester until Feb. 2 – a total of 17 days – students with Plan C had their cards swiped into Eickhoff without being charged $3.75.

“There was an error made in setting up the meal plans for the students which gave students unlimited access similar to Carte Blanche Plans A and B,” John Higgins, general manager of Dining Services, said. “The College caught the mistake and changed it to the way it should have been.”

As a result, those who thought they got free breakfasts will have points deducted according to the number of times they entered Eickhoff Dining Hall before 10:30 a.m. on weekdays during the 17-day period.

“What we’re going to do is see who was on Plan C and swiped in before 11 a.m., multiply every time they swipe by $3.75 and notify the students that we will take it off their points,” Mark Mehler, assistant director of Auxiliary Services, said.

He and Higgins decided not to include weekends when charging students for the error. Mehler said the problem cost Sodexho an estimated $1,800.

“I was just fishing around and discovered it,” Mehler said. “The registers are connected to the campus network and from my computer, I can run all different kinds of reports. The reports show what people are on which plans and the register activity. I was able to compare the two.”

“If you see the activity, there is a group of 15 to 20 students who were doing it almost every day,” Mehler said.

Matt Snyder, sophomore journalism major, said he has Plan C but did not notice the problem. “I had no idea this was going on,” he said. “I have never gone to Eickhoff before 11 a.m. because I didn’t want to spend the extra money to get in. I always considered it a waste.”

Ashley Tully, freshman communications major, who also has Plan C, agreed.

“(Breakfast) is not covered by my meal plan and I don’t feel it to be worth the money in order to eat a bowl of cereal just because I’m 30 minutes early, before 11 a.m,” she said.

Although Snyder is unaffected by it, he said the corrective point deduction seems unfair. “I don’t think Sodexho should be reimbursed for the money. They should have been the ones to keep on top of it,” he said.

The glitch has not deterred Sodexho from considering Carte Blanche again next year, Higgins said.