More than 1,200 mugs stolen from Wu-Wilcox dining hall
On Monday, Hebditch said in an e-mail to The Daily Princetonian that she is unsure how many mugs have been returned.
Other dining halls have faced similar problems, but not to this extent. Patricia Byrne, the college administrator for Mathey College, said that utensils, mugs and plates have gone missing from the Rockefeller-Mathey dining hall.
“Some are found in our library and in the dorms at the end of the year,” Byrne said. “This causes more work for our janitors who collect them and return them to the dining halls at a cost to Dining Services.”
Stu Orefice, the director of Dining Services, said in an e-mail that while dining halls lose utensils and flatware each year, the loss of mugs from Butler and Wilson this year is much greater than in previous semesters.
Orefice told The Daily Princetonian in February 2009 that, on average, each residential college replaces 1,000– 2,000 forks and knives, 600–800 teaspoons and 300–500 soup spoons a year. These numbers also include silverware lost during Reunions and discarded silverware.
Orefice attributed the large number of missing mugs this year to the weather. “One factor that may have resulted in the increased removal of mugs may be the colder winter season, perhaps with an increased interest in having mugs on hand for warm beverages,” he said.
Alice Zheng ’13 said that she has taken mugs out of the dining halls but added that she always returns them.
“I’ve always seen the mugs as belonging to the student body, not the dining halls,” she said, adding that students should be allowed to use mugs outside dining halls as long as they are returned quickly.
Kevin Moch ’10 said that Wu-Wilcox may be experiencing the biggest problem with missing mugs simply because of its popularity following renovations last summer.
“I think the situation is worst here because the dining hall is the most frequented,” Moch said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if these mugs are spread out all across campus.”
Andrea Clay ’11 said that one reason for the thefts is laziness. “I’ve seen people bring mugs out of the dining hall, especially at night,” Clay said. “They are not keeping the mugs on purpose, but they are just too lazy to bring them back.” Many mugs can be found lying around in common rooms and libraries rather than in dorm rooms, she added.
The three students interviewed agreed that the 48-hour return policy is fair, but none predicted that it would be effective.
Laura Wooten, a dining service worker at Wu-Wilcox, said she is annoyed with the situation, explaining that students know the rules and should follow them.
“I try to stop them from taking mugs out of the dining hall, but I am only one person,” Wooten said. “The University is paying too much to replace these things.”
But Orefice noted that it is students, not the University, who ultimately pay for the replacements.
“These costs do have to be recouped,” Orefice explained. “The replacement of service ware is included in the Dining Services annual budget and is reflected annually in the amount students pay for the meal plan.”