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Mojo Asks Students

Swipegate: Student reactions on losing their Premier meal plan swipes

Students living on the Hill with Premier meal plans awoke Wednesday to a very upsetting email from UCLA Housing Services.

The email informed them of an error with the BruinCard system in which swipes used prior to Oct. 1 were not properly deducted from accounts. UCLA Housing individually calculated the swipe balance of everyone with Premier meal plans who was affected, and proceeded to deduct swipes from their account. This change restored everyone to their proper balance, as if the September error never occurred.

Housing ended its correspondence with an apology, and, as “a token of our appreciation for your understanding,” offered an additional themed dining night this quarter. Ironically, Housing’s token of appreciation will cost students an additional swipe.

As one might expect, this news got Hill residents riled up. Facebook and Twitter were set ablaze with students upset at how this situation was handled. The Daily Bruin was quick to post about the situation as well.

After the initial backlash, Housing has formally responded to mitigate the situation in an email to students: “we will restore all impacted meal plans to balances that will allow all students to eat healthy for the rest of the quarter.”

Before the most recent update, however, we asked Bruins affected by the swipe deduction about their feelings in regard to the day’s events:

“Housing may have corrected the issue that lead to the error, but they have fallen far short of correcting the error itself. Frankly, simply deducting the swipes that were awarded via a technical error that students had nothing to do with completely out of the blue is on par with stealing. Well, maybe more along the lines of Indian Giving. Not exactly the exemplary model of acting with integrity or accountability as you’d expect from an institution that claims to hold these among its top values.”

―Kenneth Hesse, fourth-year economics student (32 Swipes lost)

“The fact that Housing is taking no blame for this and passing it onto the students is asinine. I think that they should have only taken half of the swipes back, and left the others as good faith for their mistake. No one cares about an extra themed dining night, especially when I will be out of swipes before that even comes around.”

―Samantha Taylor, second-year geography student (30 Swipes lost)

“As an employee for Residential Life this food is my actual revenue for the hours I work. Housing did the equivalent of giving me a bonus I was unaware of, I spent my money, and then they changed their mind and asked for it all back. Housing swindled me into losing an entire week of pay with no warning of the error until my meals were taken away from me.”

―Hannah Xavier, fourth-year psychobiology student (15 Swipes lost)

“I woke up this morning to find out that I now have 58 swipes left. That is a little more than one a day for the rest of the quarter. We needed to be notified immediately and informed about the extra swipes so that we could stop overspending. I used my extra swipes early in the quarter, and now I am in steep swipe debt. Additionally, Housing is claiming that I swiped 43 times in 10 days, so clearly their calculations are also wrong because I don’t recall eating over four meals a day for over a week straight.”

―Flora Ziprin, fourth-year psychobiology student (43 Swipes lost)

“While I understand that it’s impossible to give everyone back all the swipes that were lost, I feel like Housing services could do more to compensate for their mistake. I have been swiping extra, but now I am quite behind and salty. I just hope that Housing does something to help people that will be short on swipes at the end of the quarter due to their mistake.”

―Mark Washkewicz, second-year chemical engineering student (22 Swipes lost)

“What Housing has done is downright unethical. Their system failed and the only way that we can see our swipes is on their system, therefore we spent our swipes accordingly. I was treating myself as to not let these extra swipes go to waste. They fixed the problem, but instead of letting it be their mistake, they are dipping their hands into our accounts and stealing our swipes overnight. The lack of transparency and excess of greed is upsetting.”

―Sam Norton, fourth-year psychobiology student (20 Swipes lost)

On Twitter, Housing has responded to criticism with urgency and even a bit of humor, saying that “we won’t let anyone go hungry” and “we’re working on a solution.” It also had considered “#swipocalypse” to describe the event instead of “#swipegate.”

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Mojo Asks Students

Free money on Free & For Sale

Here’s a badly kept secret: the 23,000-plus member Free & For Sale Facebook group is the real center of UCLA’s campus community. Daily Bruin Video set out to find out just how seriously Bruins take the sometimes weird and outlandish things posted on the page by advertising a giveaway of dollar bills. The results did not disappoint.

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Mojo Asks Students

Mojo Asks Students: Yes or No to #MeatlessMondays?

You may have noticed that the some of the UCLA dining hall services, most notably Bruin Plate, have adopted the trend of Meatless Mondays. Other University of California organizations, such as UC Davis, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and even Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center have been supporting Meatless Mondays and Beef-less Thursdays. The movement, promoted by the student group Bruins for Animals!, is built upon the idea that foregoing meat for dinner once a week benefits us in many ways, to live a healthier, more cost effective and environmentally conscious lifestyle. On the other hand, some have argued that limiting meat options on Monday dinners restricts choices.

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It’s an ongoing debate. Here’s what feedback we received when students on the Hill were asked about the subject.

  • “People are missing out on some of the best things in life: chicken tacos. Additionally, humans were meant to eat meat or else we wouldn’t have canines.” – first-year undeclared student Fiona Riddle.
  • “It’s discriminatory and insensitive towards meat lovers.” – first-year undeclared student Temuulen Maral-Erdene.
  • “I think it’s a great idea! B-Plate is all about providing healthy, sustainable food, and it wouldn’t make sense if they did not recognize the value on health and the environment by skipping on meat for a day or maybe more. And it’s funny to see people freak out.” – first-year theater student Kira Morling.
  • “It’s a great idea with a great purpose. People underestimate the drought situation we’re in, and this promotes it. It’s only once a week too, so it’s not the end of the world.” – second-year psychobiology student Cameron Ajamoud.
  • “I’m a growing girl! I have weak bones and I really could have used some chicken in my salad today.” – first-year psychobiology student Ellie McCartney.
  • “Everyone freaks out about this. It’s once a week, calm down everyone. It saves a ton of water, like a lot. Not having pork chops or chicken once a week is not going to ruin your life but rather help California be California again.” – first-year chemical engineering student XiaoPeng (Steve) Chen.
  • “In order to be satisfied with my meals I need to have a little protein. I’m upset and feel like I don’t really have anywhere to go for dinner since B-Plate is my main place.” – first-year human biology and society student Jennifer Karsli.

  • “I don’t mind it. I don’t eat a lot of meat anyways since the lines are too long.” – first-year theater student Irene Jeong.

Recently, some students were confused by Bruin Plate’s online menu as some of the Monday dining options showed meat, but when Bruin Plate staff were asked about the confusion, they explained that the website had not been updated due to the new transition. Sure enough, #meatlessmondays will continue until the end of the quarter.


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