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Kittredge Hall closing due to staff shortages

Staff currently working at Kittredge will transition to working in Lowry Center after Kittredge closes on March 7

Robyn Newcomb
Features Editor

On Feb. 21, Director of Campus Dining Marjorie Shamp announced the upcoming closure of Kittredge Dining Hall, beginning March 7 and continuing through the end of the academic year.

Shamp stressed that although the closure is undesirable, dire staffing concerns, exacerbated by very low regional unemployment, forced the decision.

“This is not a budgetary issue. It is a labor issue. We just don’t have enough staff to operate a location that serves less than 10% of the meals per dining period,” Shamp said. Shamp cited medical leave, moving to higher-paid jobs in the region and a transfer to another campus department among the reasons for recent losses of staff.

“In the past month, we have been fully staffed for maybe one day,” Shamp said, illustrating the severity of the labor shortage. Shamp explained that this shortage has placed an immense strain on remaining staff, 34 of whom have worked a six day week instead of five, in the month leading up to the decision.

“I’m not worried from a budget standpoint – I’m worried from a fatigue standpoint,” said Shamp. She indicated that the majority of students who attended the Kittredge “office hours” were primarily concerned about staff as well and understood that the move can help to alleviate the strain of working overtime.

Dean of Students Scott Brown said the decision was made with the best interest of Dining Hall staff in mind.

“We knew what heroic things [the staff in Dining Services] were doing, to their own detriment and health. This was simply not fair or tenable,” Brown said.

Shamp also acknowledged the negative effect this closure will have on students and staff.

“While this is disappointing to students who regularly dine in Kitt, most understand the need for it and will adjust their dining habits accordingly,” Shamp said. “This was [also] not welcome news to Kittredge staff, but they are taking it in stride.”

Shamp assured the Voice that there will be absolutely no loss of jobs or hours for Kittredge staff. In fact, she said, staff will likely still be working some overtime and Campus Dining will continue hiring. In addition, the two Kittredge cooks will work as cooks in Lowry: there will now be one extra cook at a time in Lowry, and the cooks will rotate out to work in other sections. Asked about this plan, Kittredge cooks said they were not able to comment because they had not yet been informed of it.

Al Conrad, commonly known simply as “Al,” who has worked at the Wooster Inn for two years, Lowry for eight years and Kittredge for six years, said he has mixed feelings about the move.

“To be honest, sad,” said Al when asked how he felt about the move,

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