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Thursday, April 29, 1932The Daily Tar Heel5
hod mrmc chom;e with the time
By DOUG LEWIS
For the past several months, much has been
written about the current problems facing
UNC's attempts to provide a viable, self
supporting food service for students and facul
ty. A Food Service Advisory Committee, an
independent research firm. Student Govern
ment and the Residence Hall Association have
worked together on the current proposal fac
ing the UNC Board of Governors in May. To
understand fully the reasons behind this pro
posal, the history of food service on the UNC
campus must be closely examined.
The first permanent dining facility used for
students on campus was known as Commons
Hall. The hall was located east of Peabody
Hall and was opened at the beginning of the
1885 fall semester. It was a long wooden
building measuring 100 feet by 45 feet. The
Commons "guaranteed good fare at a low
price.M Students ate their meals while under
the supervision of faculty and the house
matron. They were charged $8 a month for
iheir meals and were served by student waiters,
who received their meals free. Commons
replaced Steward's Hall, another long wooden
building which had been used as r dining
facility since the early 1800s.
As the University grew, its need for a larger
dining facility became more apparent. Thus,
Swain Hall was opened in 1913. It initially
operated successfully as a boarding house. But
continued growth again became a problem.
Compounding the increased flow of students
was the fact that the facilities quickly became
In an attempt to alleviate this problem, the
University increased it dining facilities. In
1924, Spencer Hall and the Carolina Inn were
built with places to eat. Spencer operated
under the contract system, with each woman
paying a set fee for meals. The Carolina Inn
operation was a restaurant facility much like
Although these two cafeterias helped to ease
Swain's problems, they did not alleviate them.
Because each drop in patronage caused food
quality and service to drop, Swain soon
became the University's "white elephant".
The decision was made to close Swain and
make an attempt at renovation. After having
been closed during 1936, UNC President
Frank P. Graham announced the reopening of
Swain as a "dining emporium" for the 1937
fall term. Swain became an instant success,
quadrupling its business.
Unfortunately, Swain's ineffectiveness in
handling huge crowds undermined its suc
cesses. In 1939 The Durham Herald Sun
reported, "Swain had long lines waiting out
side, which was awkward in winter, and it had
to turn away others."
In 1939, the decision was made to close
Swain and build a new, modern
facility Lenoir Hall. Lenoir operated nor
mally until World War II, when the Navy's
pre-flight program was established.
Jim Cansler, associate vice chancellor for
student affairs, commented on this period.
"During the war about the only students on
campus were those physically exempted from
serving in the Armed Forces. Lenoir was used
by the Navy for its training programs and
Swain was reopened for the other military
training programs on campus, including the
Army's special training group."
After World War II ended, Lenoir ex
perienced almost 20 years of relative financial
success. The driving force behind this success
was George Prillaman, manager of the food
service from 1951 until 1969.
"My philosophy has always been to serve
students at the University the best and most
wholesome food in the entire area, at the
lowest price," Prillaman said in a recent
review. In a short time he was able to save the
University $50,000 a year. In fact, the Univer
sity's food service operation became so suc
cessful it was lauded nationwide by several
food management organizations and
During his time, two more dining facilities
were built on campus. In 1961, the Pine Room
was constructed under Lenoir, in its present
location. It served as a cafeteria and a snack
bar, serving such entrees as crab, trout, steak
and roast beef.
In 1964, Ehringhaus Residence Hall was
built with a cafeteria to fulfill the needs of
students on South Campus. Ehringhaus
operated on the same "pay as you go" system
as Lenoir. In fact, all the dining facilities on
campus operated this way with the exception
of the cafeteria in Spencer.
Prillaman was bitterly opposed to the man
datory contract system used by many univer
sities. "The college student of today does not
want to be regimented," he was quoted as say
ing in a 1966 edition of The News and
Observer. "In fact, he rebels against regimen
tation. Give him freedom of choice and let him
buy his meals wherever he likes. This goes a
long way in improving campus food."
Prillaman said he could attract students to
his cafeterias with professional service, good
food and specials. His 40 cent special an en
tree, two vegetables, bread and butter and
unlimited tea or coffee was preferred by two
thirds of those students who ate in Lenoir. The
special's price remained unchanged until 1965.
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Phoio counesy of N.C. Collection
Art of Steward's Hail (left) as it looked in 1814
UNC's oldest building once was used as cafeteria
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1965 marked a turning point in the fortunes
of food service on campus. In that year. Chase
Cafeteria was built to serve South Campus.
Some were opposed to the building of Chase,
including Prillaman, citing a small plot of land
and the probable need .for a board plan
because of the lack of a large student base as
Additional problems soon cropped up.
Charles Antle, associate vice chancellor for
business, said "Chase had operational pro
blems because of the design of the building.
The kitchen was on one floor and the dining
facilities were on another with only one small
elevator to transport food and dishes. It also
had high energy costs and was not cost
efficient." By 1969, the University was losing $200,000
a year and finally decided to let a private firm
take over the food service program.
Contributing to this decision was a state
legislature order that all auxiliary services con
nected with the University had to be self
supporting. SAGA, a private firm was con
tracted in 1969 to take over the system. Unfor
tunately, two strikes crippled their operation
and they decided to leave after one year.
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"There was much discussion at this time
about closing the food," said John Temple,
vich chancellor for business and finance in a
recent interview." However, the decision was
made to limit the number of facilities and
Subsequently, the Spencer cafeteria, the up
per floors of I.enoir and Chase all were con
verted to other uses, leaving only the Pine
Room and half of Chase to serve the student's
food needs. A new firm, Serv-OMation, was
contracted in 1970. After initial losses Serv-OMation
experienced success for about six
years. In 1974, Serv-O-Mation added the Fast
Break facility in the Carolina Union. Unfor
tunately, Fast Break alsa experienced pro
blems because of poor design. "The Union
was not built to accommodate a food opera
tion and thus suffered from exhaust and fire
safety problems," Antle said. Serv-O-Mation
then lost money for two years and decided to
leave in 1980, citing poor facilities and com
petition both on and cjff campus.
' In 1980, the University coi- racted ARA
food services, which has one u ar left on a
. three-year contract. It remains u be seen how
the University will solve present food service
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, Photo courtesy of N.C. Collection
Interior of one of UNC's cafeterias tn 1005
...Commons Hall served as gathering-place for students
Lenoir Hall in history
Planned cafeteria conversion recalls 1969 labor strike
By DAVID ROME
If the plan to convert Lenoir Hall into a din
ing hall is carried out, it will not be the first
time that Lenoir has been used in that capaci
ty. The history of Lenoir Hall indicates the
political and economic magnitude of the UNC
food service issue.
Anyone who was in Chapel Hill in the late
1960s probably remembers Lenoir Hall as a
good place to go for an inexpensive breakfast,
lunch or dinner in a spacious atmosphere.
Dr. Lewis Lipsitz of the political science
department appreciated Lenoir most of all as a
"pleasant meeting place," which provided a
"real opportunity to meet people outside your
own discipline." He noted the opportunity to
mingle with students during a coffee break at
Lenoir Hall in the morning, and he said he
"always went to lunch with grad students and
Something happened in the late 60s which
changed Lenoir Hall from a spacious, inexpen
sive cafeteria run at a financial loss by the
University into the focus of a labor dispute
which involved the whole campus in the tur
bulance of the time.
On Feb. 23, 1969, UNC food service
workers began a four-week strike. J. Derek
Williams wrote in his Master's thesis titled "
Wasn't Slavery Times Anymore" Food
workers' Strike at Chapel Hill:
"Intolerable working conditions provoked
UNC cafeteria workers most of them black
women to walk off their jobs. Although un
precedented, the strike came at a time and
place that were already ripe for confrontation
over labor, racial and student issues."
Lipsitz agreed that there was little question
that the food service, although "cheap and.
good," was managed "poorly from the standi
point of the workers." The University was los
ing substantial amounts of money and "the
manager of food service was trying to cut all
the corners he could. Things they did were out
right illegal," Lipsitz said.
With considerable support from the student
body and faculty, the foodworkers left Lenoir
Hall and set up a strike headquarters in Man
ning Hall. (Manning Hall was unoccupied at
the time because the law school had just mov
ed out.) Lenoir Hall remained open for about
two weeks as the strike gained following, new
techniques and state-wide concern.
The striking workers set up their own "alter
native" food service in Manning Hall. Lipsitz
acknowledged that the Manning Hall food was
not too good, but he and other sympathizers
felt obliged to show their support by eating
Another support technique used by student
protestors were "stall-ins" in lines. Students
would go through the cafeteria line in Lenoir,
fill up their trays with food and then leave their
trays in line near the cashier and walk away.
The school administration finally took ac
tion, when the strike was two weeks old, after
six black students turned over some tables and
chairs in Lenoir Hall. (These six students were
later tried and fined $150 each for the
incident.) The administration decided to close
Lenoir temporarily. These actions prompted a
campus rally March 5.
Williams writes that on the next day, "at the
insistence of North Carolina's governor,
Lenoir was reopened under guard of the state
patrol, thereby invigorating debate about
academic freedom and the University's
Negotiations continued for the next two
weeks, with some picketing of Lenoir Hall and
South Building. There was no violence during
the entire strike, even though as Lipsitz stated,
"people had said there would be." Manning
Hall was evacuated peacefully, although tense
ly, after the governor forced the strike sup
porters to leave the building.
. .The strike ended March 21 when "after ex
traordinary, j procedures, . state employees
throughout North Carolina received a 20-cent
increase in the minimum wage," writes
The settlement was less than a long-run vic
tory for the workers, however. Capitalism
began to play its invisible hand and the Univer
sity had a stronger motive than ever to unload
its food service responsibility on private industry.
The Bottom Line takes a lighter look at the news
, every Tuesday and Thursday ort the editorial page of
The Daily Tar Heel.
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When private industry did take over, Lenoir
Hall the good place to meet and eat was
a quick victim. Lipsitz said, "One of the
reasons Lenoir was abandoned was the private
food service found Lenoir to be uneconomi
cal." Some of those same workers who had
fought so hard for increased pay and improved
conditions were found to be uneconomical,
too. . . .
Will the new Lenoir Hall recapture the
friendly meeting place atmosphere it once had
before the tumultuous 60s? Dr. Lipsitz said he
hoped that at least part of Lenoir Hall might
become "something on the model of the Pari
sian (outdoor) cafe ... like a coffee house ...
something with a little class."
STUDENT JUDICIAL ACTIVITY
February, March 1882
Charge Court Plea Verdict SaoctkM
cheated on Math 31 exam Undergraduate Not Guilty Guilty Suspension through
. spring semester, 1982;
F in course
plagiarized English 1 paper Undergraduate Not Guilty Guilty Suspension through
summer sessions, 1982;
spring semester 1982; F
cheated on Chem 11 exam Undergraduate Guilty . Guilty Probation through fall
semester 1982; Fin.
engaged in conduct disrupt- Undergraduate Not Guilty Not Guilty '
ing University employee's
ability to perform duties
cheated on Classics 25 exam Undergraduate Not Guilry Guilty Probation at least
through fall semester
1982; F in course
plagiarized English 2 paper Undergraduate Not Guilry Not Guilty "
cheated on Math R exam Administrative Guilty Guilty Probation through
Hearings Off. summer sessions, 1982;
F in course
cheated on Geology 1 1 final Undergraduate Not Guilty Guilty Suspension through
spring semester 1982; F
cheated on Geology 11 final :!; Undergraduate. . Not Gu r
. , . , ' r"spring semester 1982fF?r
' in course
cheated on Psychology 10 Undergraduate Not Guilty Not Guilty
- cheated on Psychology 10 Undergraduate Not Guilty Not Guilty '
final exam .
cheated on Psychology 10 Undergraduate Not Guilty Guilty Suspension through
final exam spring semester 1982; F
- , . . in course
For further dispositions, contact the Honor Court. .
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