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Mojo Asks Students

Swipegate: Student reactions on losing their Premier meal plan swipes

(Alyssa Dorn/Daily Bruin)
(Alyssa Dorn/Daily Bruin)

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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