Eliot Cancels Brain Break

Some residents upset, but many support decision

Eliot House Master Leno Pertile has cancelled Brain Break in Eliot House until further notice, in response to what he calls “a particularly savage” mess left in the dining hall Monday night.

Pertile didn’t warn students before cancelling the late-night snack, but said his course of action was necessary in order to protect the dignity of the dining hall staff and of the food being wasted.

“This is not civilized behavior,” he said.

Two dining hall staffers spent over an hour yesterday morning cleaning up plates, glasses, trash and tables sticky with honey, according to one dining hall worker. Alex McNitt, Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) spokesperson, said the job usually takes only 15 minutes.

“Everywhere you step you’d crunch sprinkles,” said Eliot resident Geoff A. Preidis ’03, who saw the dining hall on Monday night and again the following morning.


Preidis says that upon seeing the mess they had to clean, dining hall workers were visibly upset.

“They said, ‘Look at this! Do you believe this?’ and that embarrassed me,” Preidis said. “I have a lot of pride in this House.”

Many other Eliot residents echoed his reaction, supporting Pertile’s action and calling the messiness disrespectful to the dining hall staff.

“The people that work here are members of the community too,” Claudia A. Sitgraves ’02 said.

Pertile announced his decision in an e-mail sent to Eliot House residents yesterday afternoon. The notification surprised many students.

“My reaction was, ‘What the hell did they do down there?’” Chris R. Laumann ’03 said.

Some students said that it was unfair to punish the entire House for the incident.

Because Brain Break does not operate on a swipe system, unlike other meals, there is no official tally of how many Eliot residents generally attend.

“It’s not like everyone in Eliot was slinging sprinkles last night,” Tara K. McAllister ’03 said.

Students suggested a warning system, disposable tablecloths and swipe card access to Brain Break as alternative solutions to cancelling the service.