The end of an era at Suites Dining, part IV

This is the fourth and final part of a long-form article on the University’s decision to end student management at the Suites Eating Clubs. Click here to view parts one, two, and three.

Growing burden of ResEd oversight

When I asked her about ResEd’s heightened oversight of GCDS since administrators first intervened in 2009, Dean Golder insisted that ResEd’s involvement has been productive and beneficial.

“We’ve done our best to help them be successful,” she declared. “And that’s just factually accurate.”

But according to everyone who isn’t a ResEd administrator, increased ResEd interference has been actively detrimental to the effective student management of Suites Dining. Not a single manager I interviewed could think of even one way in which increased ResEd oversight had made their job easier.

The number of ways managers say it has made their jobs harder, however, is remarkable. According to several different managers, all of whom wished to remain anonymous, ResEd meddling has made club management dramatically less efficient, more expensive and less effective.

One of the most frustrating changes for managers has been ResEd’s enforced separation of club expenditures into food – which student managers are allowed to purchase themselves using the GCDS account – and capital items like cups, plates and club improvements, which must be either approved and paid for by ResEd (using GCDS money) or purchased using personal student funds and submitted for reimbursement.

According to one student manager, the most significant problem with ResEd’s new policy – before which student managers were free to allocate funds as they saw fit – has been the delayed payment of vendors who provide both food and capital items. Student managers will pay for the food portion of the invoice immediately, but ResEd will take several weeks to pay for the capital items, leaving vendors complaining that they’ve been underpaid.

Reimbursement – the other ResEd-enforced way for student managers to purchase capital items – has proven even more inconvenient, mostly because ResEd appears to consistently run weeks behind schedule. One manager purchased a new stereo for his club in early December using personal funds and still hasn’t received a ResEd reimbursement check. In September, ResEd administrators forgot to pay Bollard’s water bill, and Frank had to pay the cost out of pocket. He finally got a reimbursement check for $248.73 – on Jan. 24.

In Middle Earth, student managers keep a running list of things R&DE – to whom, according to the board bill, Suites residents pay total annual maintenance fees of over $380,000 – has promised to fix but hasn’t. There are currently 12 items on that list, ranging from the salad bar to the stove tap to the mop rack.

When multiple fix-it requests went unanswered, managers had to resort to personal emails and phone calls. Many of the requests for maintenance have gone unanswered since fall quarter. As one current Suites manager I interviewed fumed, “Housing does absolutely nothing.”

Last year, R&DE installed a shiny new dishwasher in Middle Earth. Unlike the other three clubs’ dishwashers, which despite being old and timeworn work perfectly fine, the R&DE-installed Middle Earth dishwasher immediately broke, and Housing still hasn’t successfully fixed it. The symbolism is astonishing.

Student-managed since 1982, the Suites Dining Societies are set to be run by an outside corporation starting next year.

Student-managed since 1982, the Suites Dining Societies are set to be run by an outside corporation starting next year. (MEHMET INONU/The Stanford Daily)

In Fall 2010, ResEd decided to assume control of paying student hashers – traditionally a responsibility of individual club managers, who would write hashers checks directly from their eating club account. Before the takeover, I remember a student manager depositing my hashing check every two weeks, like clockwork, in the furthest left-hand drawer in the Avanti kitchen, beneath the cupboard.

When ResEd took over, they failed to pay student hashers for the next two months. Administrators only resumed payment after students pointed out that not paying your workers is a violation of California labor law.

“It’s amazing how incompetent the so-called ‘professionals’ can be,” grumbled a particularly displeased Suites manager.

ResEd has even taken GCDS money outright, without any warning or explanation. According to a 2011-12 club financial manager, each eating club used to maintain a $4,000 “carryover account” – money saved up “just in case a chef got sick or we had to have some big capital expenditure – as like a buffer.”

“We had that money saved up,” the financial manager said. “I sent out some checks at the end of the year to pay off summer bills and stuff like that… and then I ended up coming back to school and getting invoices saying I had unpaid bills from the summer, and I found out that the checks I had sent had bounced because the University had swept our accounts and taken out all the money that we had saved for carryover, and [they] just never gave it back. It was just gone.”

ResEd has also restricted the number of hashers who can be on GCDS’s payroll, drastically limiting the flexibility of students’ work schedules. Two club managers complained that finding replacement hashers when their current one has a midterm or an athletic event has become much more difficult since the pool of available hashers is now much smaller.

Even ResEd’s own student employees express frustration with the apparent incompetence and questionable work ethic of their superiors. One current Suites Resident Assistant (RA) complained that ResEd Student Affairs Officer Tiffany Taylor, who is supposed to make regular supervisory visits to Suites, has been conspicuously absent all year.

“She’s supposed to come over,” said the RA, “but she never actually does.”

If there is any mismanagement and incompetence going on at Suites, it’s not on the part of students. It’s by ResEd and R&DE.

It is only when I began investigating its chronic underperformance that ResEd finally began to grind, slowly, into gear. Two days after I sent an email to Boswell, Buzay and Golder requesting an interview about Suites, all four club managers suddenly got an unprecedentedly friendly, but characteristically vague, email from ResEd administrator Jo Jaffe ‘09.

“I just wanted to check in and see how everything was going for you all,” Jaffe wrote. “Please let me know if there’s anything you have questions on or need help with.”

Student managers weren’t fooled.

“It was definitely related to the takeover,” said one club manager.

And only in the last month has Keith Santiago, head of Governor’s Corner Housing, finally become more responsive to student requests for help.

“We are skeptical as to his motives,” said another student manager.

***

Frank keeps his letters in a Macy’s sale bag in the back of his old blue Lincoln. There are 66 of them. Most are thank-you cards: cards from students, cards from employers, Christmas cards from generations of Suites managers, cards in neatly written Spanish I wish I could understand. Some are invitations to long-ago Stanford graduations from former students who’ve left Frank’s beloved kitchen and moved on.

When Frank puts the tattered old Macy’s bag in my hands, he does so with a care I’ve never seen before. He tells me that if I open a card, I must make sure to put it back in the exact same envelope, undamaged and in order.

“Be very careful, Miles,” he says.

I smile. “I’ve got it, Frank.”

“No,” he says, with a fierce urgency. “These letters are the most important things to me.”

These letters really are the most important things to him. And so I take great care as I look slowly through the letters, kept as pristine as you could possibly keep 66 letters in an old Macy’s bag.

Certain phrases stand out from the flow of thanks from Frank’s former students.

“You’re like an uncle to me.”

“I’m so touched beyond words that you remembered my birthday.”

“To the man who is always right, who gives the best advice and who makes my stomach content.”

Frank never lets his letters go. Next year, this University won’t be able to say the same about Frank.

***

“Residential Education,” states the office’s website, “is about the people it serves… We are concerned with the experience of indvidual [sic] residents and how to best serve each of them.”

As I speak with Suites resident after Suites resident, I can’t help but think that ResEd has forgotten that central mission. Almost unanimously, the residents I talk to are shocked and appalled to discover that their four chefs’ contracts are not being renewed – a decision about which students were not consulted – and that students will no longer lead Suites’ dining clubs next year.

“It makes me really mad,” says one current resident, with simple honesty.

For others, the loss of a student job at Suites threatens to produce financial hardship.

“Without hashing,” says a student in Suites who is currently on financial aid, “I would have no income at all… I’d be getting deeper and deeper into the hole with my student loans.” (Boswell, Buzay and Golder say that some kind of student management will be allowed under the new contractor – but any student managers that remain will work for the new company, not a student-run nonprofit, and there will be, according to current student managers, no paid student hashing next year.)

I’m reminded that 95.97 percent of Suites residents opposed a change about which they were never consulted and only recently informed.

When I reach out to Suites alumni, the reaction is, if anything, even more pained. They’re dismayed to learn that the place they loved has changed so much.

“I always thought it was the greatest food on the planet,” a 2005-07 resident remembers wistfully.

“The quality of the food, and the cheapness of it, was better than anything the University was able to offer,” a student who lived and worked in Suites from 2006-08, before ResEd began its expensive and debilitating takeover, recalls.

I’m also reminded about the importance of community, and how that word means much more than simply a group of students. Our community is made up of everyone who makes Stanford so quintessentially Stanford – from President Hennessy down to the last kitchen worker, from star athletic coaches and tenured professors to the four chefs who, as one saddened survey respondent put it, “make Suites what it is.”

When I ask Golder whether she considers it important to bring Caroline, Dennis, Frank and Tony back next year, she says, “If it works out, I think that’s great.” She suggests that if students wanted to help, we should write a letter of recommendation for the chefs to the new corporate contractor.

Between Boswell, Buzay and Golder, no one offers to do anything at all to help the chefs keep their jobs.

“I can’t tell a vendor who they have to hire,” Golder says.

And that was it.

That’s not the spirit of the Stanford I know. The Stanford I know doesn’t corporatize student life at the expense of longstanding community members; it encourages and fosters student leadership, student initiative and student independence. The Stanford I know is about standing up for the little guy, being accountable and doing the best we can for every member of our community.

As I reflect on the end of an era, I’m deeply disturbed by something I remember from the beginning of my interview in that ResEd boardroom.

“My general directive from the president, provost and [Vice-Provost for Student Affairs] Greg Boardman when I was brought in four years ago was: ‘Clean up,’” Golder declared.

Suites Dining, she said, was just “one of hundreds” of places under ResEd consideration – “one of hundreds” of places “where we’re looking at ourselves and saying, ‘Are we doing the best we can by students? Are we doing the best we can by Stanford?’”

If firing four loyal community members beloved by their students; outsourcing student jobs and responsibility to a for-profit corporation with a suspicious workers’ rights record and dubious ties to the Stanford office responsible for its current contract; and refusing to solicit any student opinion before making crucial decisions about student welfare is what “doing the best we can by students” looks like – and if there truly are hundreds of places left on ResEd’s ominous list – then the end of Suites Dining might be merely the beginning of a new and darker era in our collective campus life.

If ResEd gets its way at Suites, it will be a victory for bureaucracy, for incompetence and probably for the coffers of SOS, with its hundreds of thousands of dollars in administrative fees. But it will be a tremendous loss for everyone else: for students, for four veteran chefs who will be forced out of the community they love and for this great university we all call home.

It can be hard to stand up for ourselves. We’re all students; we hold down jobs; we’re athletes and scientists and writers with tremendous time commitments on our hands.

ResEd knows that, and they take full advantage of it. As Sullivan, the former GCDS CEO who spent an entire exhausting year trying to hold off the ResEd juggernaut, puts it, “It’s an entire office of Stanford University against a few students who don’t have the time or the energy to fight.”

ResEd and SOS move quietly, inexorably and patiently towards a shared goal that is ultimately detrimental and destructive to the Stanford community.

We cannot – we must not – let them go unchallenged. It’s time to take a stand.

Miles Unterreiner ’12 M.A. ’13 was a two-year Suites resident and is currently employed as a hasher in Suites’ dining clubs.

Contact Miles at milesu1@stanford.edu.

  • Eric

    Great article, thank you. As a previous suites resident, I cannot agree more. The answer is simple, I will not be giving to the alumni organization or the school so long as this continues. Simple as that. I don’t want portions of my contribution going to private companies instead of hardworking students.

  • Suites Resident

    Pulitzer

  • JTonn

    THANK YOU, MILES! This needed to be done and these things needed to be said and you’re the man for stepping up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrisbransonlowman Chris Branson Lowman

    Wonderful article, great information, sad situation. The slew of “take-overs” will be remembered fondly by no one. The sooner these administrators learn to care first about Stanford and second about power, the better.

  • Jack Werner

    Hell of an article Miles. Between Suites dining, the XOX fiasco, and Kappa Sig, ResEd has been way out of line and acting contra to the spirit of Stanford. My question, though, is: what next? What do we do to actually change things?

  • Sophia Ginez

    Amen. Thanks for expressing the concerns of all those who work for or live at Suites, past or present, in such an eloquent yet hard-hitting manner. I second JTonn, you’re the man!

  • http://twitter.com/PeterMGunn Commando Cool

    How all these people have not been fired is beyond me.

  • Cameron Jeffers

    So what do we do?

  • InTheKnow

    It doesn’t save the students any money, or make the experience any better for them. It’s sad, but this is the route Stanford has been going with so many organizations… It’s all about perception and THEIR bottom line. I’m not one who normally believes “the man/the corporations are taking away our rights”, but this takeover DOESN’T MAKE SENSE from any angle.

  • Molly

    This sucks sucks sucks. As a Row resident, I can EASILY say I would rather be eating in Suites! I wish Stanford would listen! It makes me so mad, but I don’t know how to make them stop!

  • Gay Wells

    Living and working in suites are easily some of my fondest memories from Stanny

  • Kevin Baumgartner

    Excellent work, Miles. I lived & ate in Suites 2007-2008 and it was an excellent experience- far better than the self-op I lived in later on. It’s difficult if not impossible to give ResEd the benefit of the doubt on this one. What is to be done?

  • Alex

    Great article! Whether you are a resident of Suites or not, each one of those Chefs takes care of every student that walks into his or her kitchen. I remember meeting Frank back in 2006 and every time I came to one of his lunches or dinners, he would go out of his way to take care of everyone that was there, on and off the clock. What the administration is trying to do is appalling!

  • InTheKnow

    Honestly, the only way I see this NOT going down is if a bunch of wealthy alums were to pull money from Stanford in response. Don’t see that happening on such short notice.

  • student

    I’m legitimately concerned about the future of student life here, especially on the Row. I’m a current RA on the Row and I remember thinking about this during training. While the Residence Deans (who are much more on the front lines of student life) are fantastic, they eerily referred to themselves as “defenders of the Row” and they constantly work with us to make sure things are going smoothly, and their tone is always one of people who’ve had to defend vigorously student life on the Row. It’s clear ResEd has set its sights on the Row to “clean up” next. What those changes look like we don’t know (and we won’t until after they’re enacted, I’m sure). I’m scared of what will happen after we graduate, but that’s the biggest leverage ResEd has over us- we’re all going to graduate. We can fight and write Op-Eds all we want but they can easily wait us out. We don’t move on to the Row until, at earliest, sophomore year, and still a relatively small portion of students live here. By the time we’re ready to protest, say junior year on average, we have one more year left. ResEd and Deborah Golder, who also subjected us all to a laughably ineffective “RA Class”, will be here for years to come.

    During training, the Provost mentioned to us all that what he hears from alumni isn’t that they loved their classes, but that they remember their experiences in their residential communities as having impacted them more than anything else at Stanford. Dean Golder is not even a Stanford alumna and has NO idea of the experiences of which she is moving to deprive students. Her purported goal is to improve the lives and residential experiences of students, but I honestly have yet to meet a single RA, housemanager or student with good opinions of ResEd. No one has ever said “Oh, thankfully ResEd got involved.”

  • Andrew Forsyth

    Since when is it in the student’s best interest to have to pay a for-profit company? Obviously, they’ll milk the students for all they’re worth. This makes me so angry, but what can we do?

  • Daily alum

    What a great article Miles. My bet is that the process you’ve started with this series will work. Now, you need to keep The Daily focused on how administrators react to this – and get other journalism outlets to notice too (this is the type of story that can easily get picked up by others in the media). Once this issue goes from being a pain for ResEd, which is fairly incompetent, to something that becomes a pain for senior University leadership, who are far more capable, expect results to come quickly. Good luck.

  • Hammertime

    What if current students get together to demand a performance review of Golder, Sargeant, etc., by their higher-ups? If the people who are actually being administered to (the students) can point to flagrant examples of mismanagement/making life worse for everybody, wouldn’t that count for something?

  • http://www.facebook.com/catullus Chase Yarbrough

    I’ve sent the following e-mail to Dean Golder

    Dear Dean Golder,

    As an alumnus of Stanford University, I am very disappointed in residential education’s decision to end student eating club management at Suites. The ResEd website states “the most important thing to remember is that Residential Education is about the people it serves.”

    The decision to end student eating club management at Suites was clearly not made with any consideration for the students, as according to a recent survey, 96% of Suites residents are opposed to the idea.

    I urge you to reverse this unfortunate decision and restore ResEd’s commitment to the purported credo above.

    Sincerely,
    Chase Yarbrough ’07

  • Laurel

    A very important article. Thank you, Miles, for putting in the hours to really figure out what’s going on and then speak up about it. And thank you to the Daily for not letting length conventions get in the way of publishing an important piece. Change only happens when students (and faculty, parents, and alums) are informed. A performance review of ResEd seems more than justified. Let’s also not forget that these issues are tied to increased administrative oversight of the Row including $5.5 million for card readers that DO NOT make us safer, cuts to worker salaries at self-ops, and the centralization of food vendors for co-ops.

  • student

    FANTASTIC ARTICLE. Thank you so much for writing. But now, what do we do?? Write something about what specific actions students can take that will make a difference. Even if it’s just sending letters. I’m sure after reading this people will take action. This is ridiculous.

  • cuzdonationsarewhattheyliveon

    Way to make the university care about students: tell all alumni, especially donating alumni, that the system is currently being gamed by greedy individuals that put all their donations into their pocket. the backlash or at least questions coming from people now hesitating to donate might be the only way to force the university to do something about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/evaninja Evan Shieh

    Amazing article. Time to protest.

  • ’10

    As an alum the gross mismanagement of ResEd exposed in this article is disgusting. The most damning part is when ResEd admitted they don’t know if a private company will actually improve dining in the areas they specified. If I was the president, provost, or VP of student affairs and I read this article I would fire the ResEd leadership responsible right away if I found that quote to be accurate.

  • Recent Alum

    Reading about Frank and this awful situation brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for writing this, Miles.

    If the administration continues to act like this, I will not be donating a single dollar to Stanford going forwards.

  • Cal Bear

    Well done miles! Well written. I’ll be interested in any followup that happens

  • Victor

    Miles, your well-researched and balanced article illumines gross misconduct on part of the administration. You give the officials a chance to retort, but they respond either with silence or with gibberish. The numbers speak for themselves: we students are vehemently opposed to this. Lamentably, however, the general apathy in the student body has grown to a point where the greed heads and human jackals of the administration are allowed to pillage our wallets and rape our community without receiving its due punishment.

    Action must be taken; we need to make it physically manifest that we will not stand for this kind of abuse of authority. I would imagine that this is a broader concern to the Stanford community than the XOX incident, so if we combine forces and gather in protest of the actions of the University, we could make a reversal of this decision inevitable. If the University doesn’t have the support of the students, the alumni, and the thousands of workers, they have nothing.

    Does someone have experience with starting a movement like this? If so, let’s bring people together and fight this desecration of our community!

  • Hunter

    No more petitions! We need to take matters into our own hands here and stand up against this disgraceful treatment of students as well as campus workers!

  • Alum

    Everyone in suites next year should say they have a peanut allergy and thus have to eat at Ricker (and pay for ricker)… no students enrolled in the new suites dining plan=no moolah for SOS or whoever they pick (even though it still ends up at a corporation… maybe it would force them to make a change to get the students back).

  • AF

    Is it possible to abstain from the dining program, or are you bound to it by agreeing to live in suites?

  • Alexander

    I believe we should try to advocate as much as possible against the change made by ResEd. After a quick bit of research (please correct me if I’m wrong), it would appear that Residential and Dining Enterprises pays into ResEd; R&DE appears as if it may even be, basically, SOS in disguise, although again I am not yet completely sure about that.

    Working under the assumption that I am correct that R&DE either directly or indirectly (through ResEd) pays into the pockets of SOS, I will no longer spend money – Cardinal Dollars or ‘real’ dollars – at any R&DE-run establishment, including but not limited to the Axe and Palm, Arrillaga’s “The Dish” late-night, Lagunita’s Latenite at Lakeside, or Olives Cafe. Being an undergrad living on campus, I have already paid for the standard Meal Plan (“residents of specially designated University residence halls ([...]) are required to participate in a Stanford Dining meal plan.”, rde.stanford. edu/dining/index.html), so unfortunately my boycott is not complete (and I will still eat at dining halls with my already-bought Meal Plan meals), but I’ll do what I can to make my dislike of the Suites change felt. Feel free to join me.

    Stanford seems to just want to consolidate its student-geared facilities as much as possible. My father (class of ’81) was a Roble resident and a hasher in Roble dining hall – yes, Roble dining hall, not Lagunita; and yes, a student hasher, that was the norm in his day rather than the exception – for, I believe, his first 3 years here at Stanford, an important and formative experience by his stories. Last spring, he visited me at Wilbur, and struck up a conversation with Carole Miller, Wilbur Dining’s current Hospitality Manager. As it turns out, Roble was where Mrs. Miller started her time with Stanford dining staff, a matter of a year or two after my dad’s graduation. It turns out (at least, according to my possibly-fallible memory of the conversation) that the transition of dining halls such as Wilbur, Stern, and Roble from much more student-involved management to the R&DE-esque contractor-run paradigms (including the transition away from student hashers) started around ’85. And, students were as incensed about that change as many commenters and the author of this article seems to be about this change. But, the grumbles died down as less and less students remembered the perks of the old management, and after a 4-year graduation cycle, R&DE became the norm, with Suites-esque management more and more of an exception. Let’s work to end this trend.

  • Alexander

    One small way students can change things – stop spending any money into Cardinal Dollars or at any establishment that accepts Cardinal Dollars. Boycott the corporation to protest the corporate takeover. (See my longer post for more on this, posted at 6:55PM today [and hidden by the default sorting on this page of 'Best' over 'Newest' - change with the little dropdown on the "Discussion" tab above])

  • Alexander

    Boycott any entity run by R&DE – that is, any on-campus eatery that takes Cardinal Dollars – and don’t purchase any Cardinal Dollars. See my long-form post on the subject (posted at 6:55 PM) for more

  • Annoyed Alum

    This is absolutely disgusting. Zac Sargent was a slimy prick when I was at Stanford and it doesn’t surprise me at all what he and Nate Boswell are doing now.

    I implore President Hennessy to step in and eliminate the interference of ResEd and SEC/SOS from student run dining facilities on the Row and Suites.

  • Alexander

    How to make them stop (a start at least): Boycott any entity run by R&DE – that is, any on-campus eatery that takes Cardinal Dollars – and don’t purchase any Cardinal Dollars. See my long-form post on the subject (posted at 6:55 PM) for more

  • Alexander

    For starters: Boycott any entity run by R&DE – that is, any on-campus eatery that takes Cardinal Dollars – and don’t purchase any Cardinal Dollars. See my long-form post on the subject (posted at 6:55 PM) for more

  • Eric

    An email sent to administrators. Long read, but if you have the time, please do. TL;DR I’m not contributing a cent to this university if it replaces students with corporations.

    Dean Golder,

    This concerns the Suites dining catastrophe:

    http://www.stanforddaily.com/2013/02/21/1075160/

    I know you will likely be inundated with emails like this one, but I sincerely hope you read in its entirety. If you do chose to ignore it due to the volume of these emails you are receiving, I hope you do so in acknowledgement of just how irrefutably misguided ResEd’s recent actions towards corporatism truly are. I have copied the Chris Griffith, the vice provost of student affairs, Stuart Burden, the chair of the alumni association, Lawrence Greitzer the alumni’s youngest board member, and The Stanford Fund because I feel they should hear these words as well.

    My name is Eric Newton, B.S. ’12, M.S. ’13, and I am a former resident of Suites and member of the dining club Avanti. Since freshman year I have gone without a traditional meal plan for a reason: The campus dining hall food, as with any mass produced food, is atrocious. There is no denying it. I bet you wouldn’t eat it. Suites was one of the few places on campus where the food was at least adequate, if not delicious. My choice of living there was based ALMOST ENTIRELY on it’s dining services. Beyond that, the dining experience there was truly engaging. The chefs were excited and caring and the freedom of choice over our meals was astounding. Student suggestions for meals were met with care and excellence, the likes of which I have never seen in the rest of ResEd’s bureaucratic food production line.

    During that year, I got to know Avanti’s chef, Tony, quite well. He wasn’t my cook, my employee, my peon, my food service specialist. No. He didn’t have the stigma of being that underpaid worker preparing my food with whom I awkwardly locked eyes with on occasion. No. He was a friend. Why? Because he cared. About his food, about his family. Because he was engaging. Because the environment in which he worked was friendly and rewarding. Ask him. If you haven’t ever spoken with him, maybe you should. He’s a nice human who loves to make people happy. That’s what this is about, isn’t it?

    Well, more specifically it is about making me, the student, or perhaps in bureaucratic terms, the customer, happy. Well I’m here to tell you that I was. Giving students the freedom and the RESPONSIBILITY to run and manage the dining clubs worked. We knew who to talk to when the food was piss poor, and they fixed it because they cared. Can you honestly tell me that will be the case in the future? It won’t.

    The dining club system gave back to our community in more ways than just the food it produced. The money spent on hashing (cleaning) went to students. The money spent on managing went to students. All within budget, as far as most journalistic digging shows. Where will this money go now? Probably not to students. Where did this money come from? Students’ board payments. In a lot of cases, mine included, help for these payments came from FINANCIAL AID. Thus, financial aid was doubly effective in that it not only helped me afford food, but helped others who contributed to the dining club’s success. Should a corporation take over suites’ dining clubs, money from financial aid will be going to private companies, not to student managers and hashers and the wonderful chefs responsible to them. I envision some of the money I give to Stanford would be used, and wasted, in this manner. Therefore, I plan not to give. I will not endorse the corporatism of our campus life and will not stand idly by while another campus tradition is quietly murdered in the name of corporate greed.

    The Stanford Alumni Association and The Stanford Fund have the improvement and preservation of the Stanford student experience at the core of their principles. I am a lifetime alumni member. My parents give to TSF. Those will be my, and my family’s, final financial contributions to this school should ResEd continue to destroy campus life. And I will not be the only one.

    Dean Golder, you profess that, “Community is inherently dynamic. Universities are bureaucracies where it is easy to stay the same. We want to build an organization that evolves just as students evolve.” The suites dining organization was a dynamic community of students. It was evolved. Your bureaucracy is killing it. And if this continues, you will prove yourself the head of that stagnant, hypocritical bureaucracy you so claim to dislike. I am disappointed that such a wonderful university can fall subject to such incestuous corporate greed.

    As an administrator, it is not easy giving a voice to students when there are competing interests. Thank you for hearing mine. In the long run, the communal health of this great university relies on it.

    Most Sincerely,

    Eric Lamar Newton

    Stanford University, B.S. ’12, M.S. ’13

  • 09

    One of the best daily articles I’ve ever read. Frank made a hard year for me a little more tolerable, with amazing breakfast tortillas, fantastic healthy yummy lunches and dinners, and always a friendly greeting to make me feel at home. Bollard is NOT a money making operation. It’s our kitchen, it’s our home. I’m so disappointed in ResEd. Disgusted.

  • cardinallakie

    This is the best thing I have ever read in the Daily. Congrats on being awesome Miles, and fuck you, ResEd. And the Alumni Office wonders why I never donate. Kids, move out of Stanford Housing. Don’t let them act like a monopoly and crush your rights. – Class of 07

  • cardinallakie

    Spam the Stanford Facebook page with the article. Make them respond! https://www.facebook.com/stanford

  • Jenny

    Fantastic article and so true to their spirits of the Suites chefs. After living there last year and moving to the Row, I’ve realized how much time and energy they put not only into cooking, but connecting with the students. I’m so glad that you’ve brought this to the forefront of student and alumni attention.

  • http://twitter.com/MarwaFarag مروة فرج

    Suites residents are required to pay for Suites dining and are assigned one of four dining halls.

  • Alum 2008

    Great work on this article. I graduated in 2008. I never lived in Suites, but from my experiences as an undergrad, I am unsuprised by everything I read. All part of the ongoing trend by these weird bureaucrats to shut down and control everything that is quirky and unique about Stanford. It’s always the same — there’s some happy, student run aspect of campus culture, and some alphabet soup office in the school wants to take it over and make it go away.

  • Makamae

    The fact that this is happening is not only a shock for me, but really angering as well! I lived in suites for 3 consecutive years before I graduated (c/o ’10) and I loved it! Frank, especially, was my favorite chef~~~always so friendly and welcoming and he made a MEAN breakfast. I can’t imagine Suites or Stanford being the same with out the infamous GovCo chefs! Tony’s brunch for lunch or Frank’s omelets and all those other things that make the experience at Suites different and special for the students that live there. I hope there will be enough student support on campus and enough of a response from alumni to illicit a reversal of RedEd’s ill conceived plan.

  • ’11

    Frank made me smile every day.

  • Villanueva

    Necessary article. Both for the Daily, and for the University as a whole. Well done.

  • W B S

    We already paid for cardinal dollars I believe. How about more drastic action. From this point on, let’s all refuse to go class or do any work. And I’m not kidding. I’m fed up with a lot of things at this university, and as far as I see it, we can’t be held accountable as students if we can no longer hold our administrators accountable. This is a place of education; and he voice of the student must be heard. If we believe strongly enough in this basic principle, our professors will be on our side. If Stanford students start performing poorly in class, the university, I believe, will lose a lot of credibility at large. I am talking about a frickin student riot. Look at Paris in the sixties. With a united and robust, and believing student body, we can take control of this school to the detriment of the administration. It’s a sacrifice, but it would work.

    And enough agreeing with one another about everything, skip class and protest this shit if you really believe in the cause for a healthy Stanford community. This is drastic action: sacrificing our grades, as students for what we truly believe in. Spread the article and the word.

  • W B S

    Imagine such a movement at the premier educational institution of the united states. Sacrifice for what you believe in, right in the heart of what much of education has become (a disastrous struggle to overcome our peers, destroying student solidarity in the process), and we will make this university first weak in the knees, then one day, proud of what a courageous student body once did for the future of this school.

  • Alumninum

    How to retake control over the future of student life at Stanford?

    1) Convene a general meeting for people to talk about what is going on.

    2) Craft a blueprint of how students want residential life to be organized. The administration has completely encroached on what was STUDENT TURF in injecting itself into dining and Row operations. Students need to decide on the relationship with the ResEd and R&DE that MEETS STUDENTS’ NEEDS, not the bureaucracy’s. Draft your own document stating HOW IT IS GOING TO BE and assert it to the administration.

    3) In so doing, you will uncover just how deep the rot goes from their response.

    4) If the students are quite united on how they want the future of student life at Stanford to be, and the administration continues to serve only itself, then nothing else will cure the rot but a campaign of non-cooperation — make an inventory of all the ways that ResEd and R&DE depends on student co-operation, and stop enabling them.

    First of all, the campaign will become the most memorable part of your Stanford experience. Second, later generations of students will remember this year as the founding of a new Stanford, and the creation of a new generation of leaders.

  • yep

    Time to send some emails:

    Deborah Golder
    Nate Boswell
    Aaron Buzay