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Bell Tower Commons closed indefinitely

<p>After the annoucement of its indefinite closure, students have organized a petition to re-open the dining hall. </p>

After the annoucement of its indefinite closure, students have organized a petition to re-open the dining hall.

Bell Tower Commons is closed for at least the rest of the fall semester, barring a new spike in remain-in-room students (RIR). According to an email sent to the employees that work at Bell, due to the decrease in Level 4 dorm floors, the dining hall was no longer drawing enough students to remain open. 

Western Dining Commons will also be closed on weekends until further notice.

Both dining halls were designated for (RIR) students. 

Geno Svec, executive director for campus services, wrote in an email to TMS the closure was  “operationally necessary.”

“Bell Tower and Western Dining Commons (closed on weekends) are set and ready for any return to high RIR purple,” Svec wrote. 

Junior Hannah Prentiss, an employee at Bell, said she and the rest of the staff were notified of Bell’s closure through a Canvas announcement Friday, Oct. 23. 

The announcement written by Chris Pioske, Bell’s general manager, told employees due to the decrease in RIR students, Bell wouldn’t be able to stay open. 

“We have reached a point where we are serving so few students that we will have to close,” Pioske wrote. “All remaining RIR students will be served by catering moving forward.”

Prentiss said she noticed the lack of students as well. 

“There weren’t a lot of students coming in,” Prentiss said. “The only people we were serving were remain-in-room students.”

On Saturday Oct. 24, the Office of Residence Life (ORL) sent an email to on-campus students that contradicted the email to employees like Prentiss.

“We're writing with an update about dining hall access for Bell Tower Commons and Western Dining Commons,” ORL wrote. “Because the number of students under an RIR plan is so low, Bell Tower and Western Dining Commons will return to normal operations beginning Monday, October 26.”

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Prentiss said she didn’t receive any communication about the change.

“I never heard that we were allowed to serve everybody again,” Prentiss said. 

Svec said the Oct. 24 email was sent in error and that Bell and Western had been planned to be reserved for RIR students. 

In his email, Pioske offered to help employees transfer to different dining halls. However, with only four weeks left in the semester, Prentiss said she probably won’t take Pioske up on his offer. 

“I thought about getting reassigned,” Prentiss said. “But I think this is a sign to take a break from work and focus on studying for my exams.”