The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate announced this week that after much deliberation between its members and university administrators, Late Night Dining at the Commons will be preserved, and the service will be extended further to Carmichael Dining Center. According to a Feb. 16 story in the Daily, the service at Carmichael will start on Feb. 26, when students will be able to use either meal swipes or JumboCash for access to food on Fridays and Saturdays between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. The program at Carmichael will serve as a trial until the end of the semester. After almost two years of large, poorly-behaved crowds of students swarming the Commons and making a mess, the addition of a new location for late night dining is a welcome achievement.
The expansion of Late Night Dining services to Carm would have seemed like a serious stretch of the imagination to those who have visited the Commons after hours, a set-up that frankly seemed more likely to be shut down than expanded. As the Daily reported in a Sept. 21, 2015 story, while the popular service has brought up to 800 students to the Commons on any given weekend, it has also showcased extremely poor behavior from inebriated students. There have been reports of people throwing up on the floor, smearing food “in places it doesn’t belong,” taking food without paying, leaving behind trash and in general, being disrespectful. When TUPD officers need to be regularly stationed at the Commons to maintain decorum, it crosses the line from being a nuisance to be downright unacceptable. The fact that senators were able to convince the administration of the merits of Late Night Dining services while the Commons is a madhouse each weekend is a major testament to their efforts.
With the extended service in place, we should be increasingly mindful of the way that we’re treating the spaces and workers who allow this program to exist. Dining workers will need to put in additional hours to cover the services at Carm, and they should not be expected to deal with lines of often unruly students during the late hours of the night. None of these workers should be put under the duress that Late Night has seen in the past, although thankfully, this change should decrease the number of students waiting in line at each location. This new trial of Late Night Dining must include some kind of measure to determine whether the extra load is too much for the current number of staff at Carm. If so, the Senate will have more work to do.
It is important to remember that Late Night Dining is more than just a convenience for munchies after dark — students who may be new to drinking, especially first-years and sophomores, benefit from being able to eat something before going out to imbibe, while others, who may not want to go to a loud, alcohol-infused party have the opportunity to meet people at night on the weekends and socialize over coffee and sweets. Getting students who may sometimes be too drunk to see to their own care out of the fraternities and off-campus parties and into a clean and well-lit dining hall can only be beneficial.
While we’re enjoying the warm food after a night out, let’s remember to not let alcohol become an excuse for disrespect.