Surprising many students and faculty, Temple University has shut down its largest on-campus dining facility, a college spokesperson confirmed to Billy Penn.
The closure of the Johnson & Hardwick cafeteria, known as J&H, comes just over month after a coronavirus outbreak at the North Philly school. The COVID spike prompted administration to move all classes online, and led to a dramatic drop in students living on campus.
While there were 3,000 living in residence halls at the semester start, spokesperson Ray Betzner said, there are just 1,200 now, a 60% drop.
“There were not enough students to justify keeping J&H open,” he said in an email, “particularly since students in Temple housing are moving from halls on the north side of campus to the south.”
Students didn’t receive any advance warning, several of them said, with many finding out when they arrived at the doors of the cafeteria. A small flyer posted to the right of the entrance notes that after Oct. 2, the only school-owned dining facility remaining open would be the one in Morgan Hall.
Other options for students on college meal plans exist, including at Temple’s student center, where some regular counters are also closed due to the pandemic. And Morgan Hall’s dining hours are much shorter than the ones J&H boasted, only providing two 3-hour time blocks for meals each day.
Before it got shut down, students could get food nearly whenever they wanted at J&H. It was also closer to some student off campus housing and other school buildings.
Maxwell Frank, a senior chemistry major, said he was frustrated and hoping for some kind of monetary compensation. “I haven’t heard a word about this being refunded, though I strongly think we should get some sort of rebate,” Frank said.
The price of an unlimited meal plan was reduced by $345 for this unusual academic year, costing students $1,842 and good for 14 weeks of the 15-week semester.
Asked about a potential meal plan refund, the university did not comment.
Temple dining facilities are managed by Aramark. It’s currently unclear what will happen to staff who worked at J&H, now that the facility is closed.