Dining dispute sparks outcry
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 00:09
Change has reverberated throughout the campus since the issue of outsourcing first hit the stage last spring. None received an outcry from the student body until dining dollars were no longer going to be accepted at campus convenience stores.
It was announced Wednesday by Dining Services that the convenience stores on campus — also known as C-Stores — would no longer be accepting dining dollars.
The issue stems from the initial outsourcing of Dining Services to Compass Group USA, which has assumed responsibility for dining services, building maintenance and landscaping custodial services on the A&M campus.
Chartwells, a division of Compass, was tasked with awarding a contract to either University Dining Services or Rattlers — which had been previously running the C-Stores. Rattlers was chosen, detaching whatever association the University had with C-Stores — outside of their contract with Compass.
When Outtakes reopened as Rattlers on Thursday the company was no longer owned by the University, but instead by Chartwells. It was Chartwells that decided to refuse the acceptance of dining dollars.
“We want to accept dining dollars,” said Laurell Lovell, a manager at Rattlers. “It’s the company [Chartwells] who didn’t want to take them.”
Hearing the voices of students, University officials and Dining Services called an emergency meeting Thursday night regarding the situation — at which Chartwells participated in. Students felt that they were being cheated and inconvenienced. According to Gina Capetanakis, marketing manager for Chartwells, effective Sept. 17 the campus convenience stores were again accepting Dining Dollars.
“Chartwells always appreciates student feedback so we can improve and address any concerns each guest may have as it pertains to our foodservice agreement with the University,” Capetanakis said.
Students were urged to express their feelings about the new rule to University officials. Students reacted utilizing Facebook and Twitter to voice their opinions.
“Students were very upset and were reacting [that’s why they changed it back],” Lovell said.
Students who live both on and off campus use convenience stores on campus for a variety of reasons. Anything from milk to school supplies are stocked and can be bought, and their locations are ideal for students living in dorms.
“I would go there instead of going to the grocery store,” said Alveza Munoz, senior biology major. “I could get milk and snacks for studying.”
The initial decision to refuse dining dollars and its repeal has caused confusion among students.
“I went over there earlier today and they accepted my dining dollars,” said Elizabeth Green, junior industrial engineering major. “I hadn’t been there since last week so I was just really confused.”