As a Residential College student, a former employee of the Halfass and current employee of the place that Residential Dining Services so tenderly calls “Retail,” I felt enraged to read the Daily’s recent article about the relocation ( East Quad’s Halfway Inn converted into student lounge, 09/16/2009). First of all, I find it troubling that the article speaks on behalf of employees of the establishment as well as Residential College students without ever actually interviewing any. I can attest not only to my own anger over the end of the Halfass, but also to tap the anger of many other Residential College students who have expressed their discontentment the moment they step into the converted south side cafeteria.
The article claims that the Halfass “was limited in its ability to provide customers with a variety of options,” and that “the move upstairs has allowed for an expanded grill menu and healthier menu options.” This makes me question the research put into the article since, had the reporter visited either place, it would have been apparent that neither of these statements are true.
I’m disappointed because this front-page article has neglected to dig, as a piece of excellent journalism should. There is a frontpage story here, but it is not “Let’s Pat Dining Services, Etc., on the Back for Their Progress!” Though one LSA resident advisor in East Quad may welcome the change, this is a story about the death of yet another Ann Arbor favorite. The Halfass, the article fails to report, has existed since the beginning of the Residential College, which was founded in 1967 and has been called “The Halfass” since that time. The story here is about why the kitchen of this long-loved restaurant is now plastic-wrapped and collecting dust while RDS lies to itself and everyone else that the move upstairs is an improvement.
I’m deeply saddened by the rapid degradation of Ann Arbor in general. The city used to swell with independent businesses. Now, I watch its personality increasingly stifled by lofts and chain stores. It’s disturbing to me that East Quad, once a beacon of free thought, is not exempt from the fall, and even worse, that an article at my school newspaper would so sloppily report on this coup d’etat.