Students turned away from Plex dining hall due to confusion over dining hall schedules


Leah Dunlevy/The Daily Northwestern

Foster Walker Complex. Students said they were turned away from the West dining hall as seats filled up.

James Pollard, Assistant Campus Editor

When students went to eat lunch on Saturday afternoon, they were turned away from the only dining hall open, Foster-Walker West, leaving them to pay for food off campus or wait until dinner.

A copy of the Peer Advisers’ schedules, obtained by The Daily, suggested that new students would be able to eat lunch from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“New Students are expected to eat breakfast at the tailgate, but all dining halls will be open; only Foster Walker will be open for lunch” the schedule read.

But Northwestern Dining’s online calendar had a different time table. According to the calendar, the Foster-Walker West dining hall was the only dining hall open between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Allison, Elder, Plex East and Sargent dining halls were all closed during typical lunch hours. Some students headed to eat at Plex West after 1:30 p.m., under the impression it would be open until 2:30 p.m.

Weinberg sophomore Shane Persaud said he arrived at Plex West after halftime of Saturday’s football game against Michigan State. The line was long, but he was able to eat for about 40 minutes.

“On my way out, the dining hall staff started to turn people away,” Persaud told The Daily in a text.

New students were unable to use dining dollars, so some waited until 5 p.m. for dining halls to re-open or bought lunch at a retail location on campus or around Evanston.

Bob Rowley, a University spokesperson, confirmed that Plex West did run out of water, ordered more and will adjust as needed in the future. Three other kinds of drinks were available at the time.

Rowley added only one dining hall was scheduled to be open at that time because students were encouraged to attend the tailgate and football game, but Northwestern still provided an on-campus option for those who stayed behind.

“There may have been some confusion, because some of the information provided in the peer adviser book and on the web was incorrect or not up to date,” Rowley said in an email. “We regret any inconvenience that may have caused for some students.”

This story was updated on Thursday Sept. 23 8:15 p.m. with additional information from University spokesman Bob Rowley.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @pamesjollard