MIT to subsidize MIT Dining staff wages

Students remaining on campus provided with no-cost bridge dining plan

MIT is subsidizing MIT Dining staff wages March 22 to May 22 and providing a no-cost bridge dining plan for students remaining on campus during the Institute’s COVID-19 response.

MIT Dining Director Mark Hayes said in an interview with The Tech that MIT decided about a week ago “to continue to support” MIT Dining staff, including those in house dining, “about eight” retail dining locations, Samberg Conference Center, and Sloan.

Hayes said that MIT Dining wants to ensure that staff are able to support their families and themselves and “maintain their benefits” so that when dining reopens, “we still have the staff to do that.”

Hayes said that staff working at the dining locations still open on campus are doing so on a completely volunteer basis.

“Typically what happens is that staff within a house have seniority levels, so based on what the staffing need is, they just work down the positions in seniority,” Hayes said.

Hayes said that MIT Dining is “grateful for anyone coming in” to work, showing their “dedication to MIT and students and staff here.” Hayes added that staff are also doing online and culinary training.

Maseeh, McCormick, and Baker dining halls remain open to serve carry-out brunch and dinner.

Hayes said he does not know whether MIT Dining, the Office of the Chancellor, or the Office of the Provost will pay for the no-cost dining plan for students. However, Hayes added that the no-cost plan is a “necessary expense.”

Dining currently serves “around 400” meals a day to undergraduates, “some house teams, and some of the housing staff,” according to Hayes.

“It’s not crazy busy but…it’s a challenge with staff” and “of serving food in very controlled, limited service environments,” Hayes said.

Hayes said that MIT wanted to make sure it had housing for and could feed students “until such time people could leave for the semester or the summer,” and that the no-cost dining plan is “just the right thing to do” to support students.

“You can’t forecast these types of black swan events,” Hayes said.