Sophomores living at the University of Maryland in 1979 will be required to eat in campus dining halls if they want to hold onto their dormitory rooms.
Before 1971, board was mandatory for all campus residents, but students successfully fought to make the meal plan optional. Currently, only freshmen are required to sign up and pay for dining privileges.
University officials estimate that 236 students will be affected by the new plan. This would mean an additional $212,000 income for food service operations, according to director John Goecker.
Students have resisted previous attempts by administrators to return to mandatory board, but last week, amid a chorus of student protest, the university board of regents voted 7 to 6 to extend the plan to sophomores.
Regents chairman B. Herbert Brown cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the proposal.
Although 6,450 students, representing 80 per cent of the total campus population, signed up this year for board, one College Park official said, "We want to ensure that this base does not get eroded over time."
More then 36,000 students attend the university, but only 8,000 live on campus.
Chancellor Robert L. Gluckstern told the regents that the number of students on board is expected to declined because dormitory renovations over the next five years will eliminate about 250 beds from campus housing.
"With less students on board, the costs per student will increase, and fewer will be ble to afford to eat on campus," Goecker said.
In face of increased food and operating expenses, dining hall renovations and projected raises for employees, the regents also approved a $50 increase in board fees. Students on any of the three meal plans, which come in 10, 15 or 19-meal packages, will pay from $710 to $810 for board next year.
What we're trying to do is hold down the amount of the increase," Goecker said. He added that if all sophomores had been on board this year, the increase would have been $32, instead and $50.
According to Peter O'Malley, vice chairman of the regent budget committee, the "impetus for adopting the plan was an overriding duty to taxpayers and to students who want a food service."
In a last-time effort to fight the proposal, student groups formed the Coalition of Students Opposing Mandatory Board.
A busload of students who arrived at the meeting shortly after the regents approved the increase in dining fees challenged O'Malley with complaints that they were told of the proposal only 10 days before the budget committee meeting.
Speaking "on behalf of 8,000 students living on campus," Wayne Willoughby, treasurer of the Residence Hall Association, urged the regents to vote against the sophomore board plan because of the "total lack of student input" in making the decision.
Other student leaders argued that mandatory board would deprive sophomores of the option of cooking in the dorms or buying cheaper food elsewhere.
"The meal plan offered by the dining services are too expensive for many students," according to Paul Nowakowski, vice president of the residents' association. He added that dining hall hours often coincide with students' jobs, classes and outside activities.