Classic Signals: State shuts down College cafeteria

By Emmy Liederman
Features Editor 

Today, T-Dubs is the perfect spot for late night dining, satisfying your sweet tooth and filling up on deep fried cravings. In the past, the Towers had a traditional dining hall in the lower level known as the TW Cafeteria.

The health department gives the cafeteria an unsatisfactory rating. (Photo courtesy of TCNJ Digital Archives)

While it was a convenient place to eat, the cafeteria soon became a recipe for roaches, grime and many health violations. In February of 1980, the cafeteria reopened after being shut down by the State Department of Health because its closure limited dining options for students at the College. The mandatory closing in 1980 marked the first time in six years that a dining facility at a New Jersey college was shut down by the state.

Travers Wolfe dining hall reopened yesterday after a state health reinspection last Wednesday revealed, according to one official, “grossly insanitary conditions hazardous to public health.” This is the only known incident where a Trenton State College cafeteria was ordered to close due to unsatisfactory conditions, and is the first time in six years a New Jersey college eating facility was ordered closed by the State Department of Health.

A notice signed by State Health Commissioner Dr. Joanne Finley, and sent to the campus food service (Cuisine, Ltd.) said the Health Department “cannot permit these conditions to continue.” The note accompanies last Wednesday’s inspection report, which included nearly 11 pages of specific reasons leading to the eating establishment’s “unsatisfactory” evaluation.

Cuisine was told to voluntarily shut down operations at the Towers dining hall or face possible legal action. Food preparation and serving ceased after last Wednesday’s lunch and did not resume until Monday’s dinner.

PERSONS NORMALLY EATING in the cafeteria, which feeds the greatest number of people at TSC (about 1,200), are advised to use the facilities at Decker and Phelps Halls for lunch and dinner. Breakfast was served only in Decker.

According to Edward Deep, assistant coordinator for the Retail Food Program at the state heath department, the two main reasons for the closing were a “massive infestation of roaches” in the food preparation and serving areas, and a “high accumulation of filth” in the food preparation area.