Meal plan mix-up creates confusion

Shortly after 3 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 10, several students on the Erie campus found themselves lacking a dining plan after they plans had been prematurely cancelled.

A filing error combining the records of Erie campus students and North East campus students led to some confusion when switching from fall to spring services.

Though Mercyhurst prides itself on its fair and equal student treatment, there are notable differences between the two campuses.

One of these is the university’s new 4-1-4 academic calendar, which contains two 14-week long semesters and a shortened winter term. The 4-1-4 academic calendar allows students and professors alike to engage in unique educational opportunities.

Since the 4-1-4 academic calendar has only been in place since the 2013-2014 school year, it has not been instituted university-wide.

Some campuses, like Mercyhurst North East, do not have a 4-1-4 academic calendar, leading to a university whose campuses are slightly out of sync.

With the arrival of spring term for the North East campus on Monday, Jan. 13, John Patterson the Director for University One Cards, reset the meal plans, not knowing that improper filing would effect students on multiple campuses.

Students who had bought a meal plan for fall term but not for spring found that their cards did not work at Egan Dining Hall and the Laker Inn. In a spirit committed to serving the needs of students first, no patron was turned away or denied a hot meal.

“I take full responsibility,” said Patterson. “With the new J-term we simply didn’t know and couldn’t anticipate everything until January was actually here.”

After quickly being cleared up, and meal plans restored, Patterson sent an email to students alerting them of the situation on Saturday, Jan. 11.

“Parkhurst did a really good job. We try put the students’ needs first,” Patterson said. He believes that such an event is not likely to happen again, and will be brought up in the yearly review after the academic year is over.

One reason that this issue was so quickly resolved was in part because students reported it to the One Card Office.

“We really take the students opinions into consideration when we plan our menus.” said Patterson. He continues to urge students to let their voices be heard and to submit feedback through the comment boxes in the dining halls or through email.

Parkhurst Dining has information about meal plans on their portal page for additional information.