Fork ‘Em Over: NYU Cracking Down On Dining Hall Crime


Jaike Quan

According to NYU, there have been trackers installed in the dining hall cutlery all along.

Ankita Bhanot, Dining Editor

Just admit it. We all do it: grabbing a few metal forks and knives from dining halls and conveniently “dropping” them in our bags for use in our dorms. No harm, right? Well, it turns out this behavior is not as consequence-free as one would think.

This morning, NYU President Andrew Hamilton announced that students who have stolen silverware from dining halls will be found and caught thanks to a new tracking technology installed in dining hall silverware. The university just announced that before the start of the school year, professors from NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering implanted a chip in each and every fork, knife and spoon.

In the beginning of 2015, the NYU Dining Services began to suspect that students were stealing silverware from the dining halls. Their suspicions were confirmed when a staff member overheard an incriminating conversation in the Palladium dining hall.

“Yo, I’m having a British-themed tea party at my house and I want it to be classy,” said a student to his friend. “Grab 15 spoons and put them in your backpack for the party so my friends think I’m rich.”

The NYU Office of Government and Community Affairs launched an investigation into the problem during the summer of 2015. They found that almost 8,000 total forks, spoons and knives were missing from the kitchen’s inventory.

Ann Marie Powell, the NYU Director of Dining Services, said that the stolen silverware was not only a financial loss for the school, but also a reflection of the students’ character.

“The total combined loss of silverware has cost the school almost $4 million; basically equivalent to a student’s tuition,” Powell said. “But besides that, the theft has just put the students in a negative light. We can’t look at them the same way anymore. If they’re stealing silverware, then what’s next? Taking two drinks per meal swipe?”

After the reports were confirmed, NYU’s engineering professors spent the summer developing the chip. The NYU Office of Public Affairs has reported that punishments for guilty students will include removal from housing, banishment from the dining halls and a one-year requirement for students to only eat with their hands.

Emily Fernandez, a freshman in the College of Nursing, is appalled by the harsh measures that the university is taking.

“This is so ridiculous,” she said. “I mean, I’m not saying I’ve ever stolen silverware, because I totally haven’t, but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal to take one, two or even 47 forks from a dining hall. I mean, does NYU even know how much forks cost from the supermarket?”

The NYU Office of Student Financial Services declined to respond to Fernandez’s question.

Whether seen as a stringent rule or not, the reality is that these rules will be enforced. In just a few weeks, representatives from the NYU Dining Service, public safety officers and members of the NYPD will be entering rooms to confiscate stolen silverware.

Hamilton believes that these steps will help prevent crime in the future.
“Students may see this as an invasion of privacy, but I see it as keeping our school safe,” he said. “People think New York City’s crime is caused by the muggers out on the streets, but really, these students are the real criminals.”

Email Ankita Bhanot at [email protected]This report has been a part of our special April 1 parody coverage. Check back next week when we get back to business.