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Passes for Late Meal website taken down

Passes for Late Meal — a website that connects students with Late Meal swipes with students with eating club passes in order to trade them — was taken down by its creators on Monday evening following discussions with the University administration about its permissibility under current dining regulations.

They will not be subject to disciplinary sanctions, one of the creators said.

Mike Caddell, a media specialist at the University’s Office of Communications, declined to comment on the specific case, but said that exchanging Late Meals is against the meal contract students sign with Dining Services.

The University’s dining hall contract, which all students on residential meal plans are required to sign, does not discuss whether students are allowed to exchange their meal swipes, according to a review of the contract by The Daily Princetonian.

In addition, the “Meal Plan Terms and Policies” section of the Dining Services website also does not discuss the subject of exchanging meal swipes, but it does say that “Misuse of the late meal program will result in a guest meal charge to the student’s account.”

It remains unclear whether students who exchange their Late Meals through Passes for Late Meal will be charged extra meal charges.

Utsarga Sikder ’15, Nihar Madhavan ’15 and Junya Takahashi ’15, the creators of the website, said they participated in talks with the University before deciding to take it down.

The University, they weren’t okay with the site in the current form that it was, and they didn’t expressly tell us to take it down, but the changes they did require, we felt would [alter] the site so much, and we weren’t willing to compromise and do that,” Sikder said.

The University wanted them to remove all mentions of partying from the site, Sikder said.

The site was widely visited across campus, Sikder noted. 1,500 unique users vistited  the website on the first day of the launch and 100 pairs of people got matched.

Sikder said inspiration for the now defunct project came naturally.

“My friends and I were thinking, and we realized there was just this inherent asymmetry in the way the school works,” Sikder said. “Upperclassmen had passes which underclassmen really wanted, but underclassmen have something that upperclassmen want, too, which is Late Meal. And we thought a lot of people would be interested in doing that.”

Sikder explained that the website was created for a class, COS 333: Advanced Programming Techniques, but added that the idea gripped them so much that they wanted to make the website more than a month before the deadline so students could make use of it.

Some students have criticized the site for facilitating the trade of food with real monetary value for social capital, but the creators said they don’t think Late Meal is necessarily like trading cash for passes.

“I think if the site was passesforcash.com, that would be a lot more controversial,” Sikder said, “but Late Meal is silly enough of an item that it really doesn’t matter. I think everyone agrees that the pass system is kind of ridiculous, so we were sort of trying to poke fun at the system and have a little fun with it.”

Others have criticized what they see as a disadvantage for sign-in club members. Sikder said the creators had given the issue some thought. Sikder is in Terrace Club, a club that does not generally issue passes.

“We wish there was a way to make the site more fair to sign-in clubs,” Sikder said. “I think we were of the opinion that for our initial launch to the public, keeping it as simple as possible was the way to go. There’s a lot of other things we can do, like club passes, guest meals.”

Staff Writer Lorenzo Quiogue contributed reporting. 

Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the name of Utsarga Sikder. The ‘Prince’ regrets the error. 

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