DU upperclassmen say apartment kitchens should negate meal plans

NEW ORLEANS (February 21, 2022) – Dillard upperclassmen living on campus in the Gentilly Gardens apartments with fully equipped kitchens are frustrated about required meal plans despite the administration’s position that it’s for students’ own good.

Students point to schools like Louisiana State University, which exempts students in campus apartments from meal plan requirements. In reply, Michelle Matthew, auxiliary services manager at Dillard, said the meal plan is mandatory “to ensure that students have access to healthy, hearty meals while living on campus.”

“Statistics show that one in three college students face food insecurities,” she said, citing a New York Times article last year about a survey at Temple University. She said Dillard wants to prevent such situations for its on-campus students.

Olivia Johnson, a theater junior from Pensacola, Florida, said she hardly has time to get to Kearney. Instead, she said she prepares meals in her own kitchen.

“With rehearsal, my internship and class times, I barely make it to Kearny as much as I want, and I know students with jobs and that are involved in other activities may feel the same way,” she said.

“I just wish there was a way to make meal plans optional or a way to come up with more affordable solutions because paying for a meal plan that you hardly use isn’t ideal.”

English major Juanita Lipsey of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, had to move from the Gardens to SUNO housing after Hurricane Ida, which she said was lucky for her because her meal-plan cost dropped. 

Matthew explained that DU students residing at SUNO have a choice of two plans, both of which cost less: the SUNO7 plan at $1,300 or the SUNO9 plan at $1,415. The main campus meal plans start at $2,155.

Lipsey, who said she helps to make payments on her tuition, said, “I think making them [meal plans] optional would take pressure off those that need it because if I didn’t get moved to SUNO, it would be harder to make those payments.”

In contrast, LSU exempts second-year students and transfer students with 30 credit hours or more from its meal-plan requirement. This applies to the school’s East and West Campus apartments and the Nicholson Gateway Apartments, according to its website.

(Aretha McKinney contributed to this report.)