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'A devastating moment': Washington Duke Inn to stop accepting food points at end of semester

<p>Duke's Board of Trustees meetings are typically held at the Washington Duke Inn.&nbsp;</p>

Duke's Board of Trustees meetings are typically held at the Washington Duke Inn. 

Duke students will no longer be able to use their food points at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club after this semester.

The Washington Duke—located on Cameron Boulevard—is a popular dining option for students to have breakfast, weekend brunch, afternoon tea, lunch or dinner to splurge on an extravagant meal with their remaining food points. 

The Chronicle asked for students' reactions through social media.

“[This is] literally a devastating moment for this university,” sophomore Ella Van Engen responded.

But what led to this mysterious policy change?

Robert Coffey, executive director of dining services, explained that using food points at Washington Duke was always intended to be a temporary option for students during campus renovations. 

Coffey wrote in an email to The Chronicle that students were able to use their food points at the Washington Duke starting when the Brodhead Center was being renovated in 2013. After construction ended, Duke Dining decided to allow students from the classes already admitted to the University to continue using their food points at the Washington Duke. 

This policy, which included input from Duke Student Government and the Duke University Student Dining and Advisory Committee, was set to end three years later after the Class of 2019 graduated, Coffey explained.

He added that before the renovation, the Washington Duke operated with more restricted hours under a Merchants on Points contract with Duke. During the renovation, these hours were increased to expand the dining options available to students.

After the Brodhead Center was finished, Duke Dining determined that there would be sufficient dining options for students on campus and would not need the Washington Duke as a dining option.

Some students said that the policy change is a barrier for lower socioeconomic status students to dine at the Washington Duke. Sophomore Daniel Sprague described the change as “unbelievably elitist.”

“Keeping the [Washington] Duke on food points allows students of ALL backgrounds to access a dining experience that usually would be reserved for people with $30+ (at minimum) to spend on a single meal,” sophomore Grace Jeffrey wrote.   

Some students said that they will miss the memories they made at the Washington Duke. 

“I'd use those points to treat my friends to dinners, AND I'd leave a very hefty tip to the servers," Leasly Salazar, Trinity ‘15, wrote. "I really enjoyed their food and service, and the experience there was always great.”

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