The 8 became cashless in mid-March, making it the only dining hall that does not accept cash. Photo by Joshua Bessex
After a theft from a kitchen safe, The 8 implemented a no-cash policy that will carry through the end of spring quarter.
UW Housing & Food Services (HFS) reported $4,032 missing to UWPD on March 4. Around March 12, The 8 went completely cashless.
UWPD Lieutenant Craig Wilson said the investigation of the theft is still active.
David Rey, HFS communications manager, said the hope was policy change would prevent future theft from occurring. He said other incidents of theft did not factor into the decision.
Theft this large is rare on campus, Wilson said. Because it is still an active investigation, UWPD chose not to release details surrounding the theft. However, Wilson said they are unsure about exactly when and how the money was taken.
Although other thefts have occurred involving campus vaults, he said the burglary did not appear to be part of a pattern. Paccar Hall, Meany Hall, and the Burke Museum all have had money stolen from safes over the years.
Another factor HFS considered in the decision was the lack of cash-paying customers. Rey said research showed only 3 percent of customers paid cash before the change.
“When 97 percent of customers already don’t pay cash, you don’t have to worry much about it affecting your customer base,” Rey said.
Because it was a sudden change in policy, both HFS staff and customers had to adjust quickly. Ryan Emmett, student coordinator at The 8, said overall the experience has been positive.
“It has been a lot easier; our lines have been moving a lot faster,” Emmett said. “Most students don’t use cash anyway; they use a Husky Card. That’s who we mainly serve. It’s also been a lot easier to close.”
Emmett said he had not heard about the reasons behind the policy change nor had he heard about the theft.
The food trucks in Red Square are the only other dining operations on campus that are completely cashless.
HFS will reevaluate the policy at the end of the quarter before deciding whether to continue it next year.
Reach reporter Jillian Stampher at email@example.com.
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