Student Senate to hold open forum on Sodexo

Whether to extend current contract or conduct bid process for new food vendor


Photo by Raina Beutel

Story by Raina Beutel, Staff Writer

If you’ve got something to say about Sodexo and food service on campus, now is the time.

Student Senate will hold a public forum Tuesday night at 8 p.m. in the Colleen Bader Room in Davies to gather student input over whether to extend its contract with Sodexo, the university’s current food vendor.

The forum comes after a Finance Commission director Christian Paese presented a resolution to extend the contract for “up to five years,” as the Sodexo contract is up for renewal for the 2016 fiscal year, and has added a few incentives for resigning.

The proposed resolution comes with provisions, one of which Paese said would allow students and student groups to bring up to $200 in food to events, something not permissible in the current contract. Along with this, Sodexo would “thoughtfully” recruit student employees into positions that may lead to full-time or long-term employment, he said.

But Paese said the “appealing” piece of the resolution comes in the form of an undetermined “capital contribution” toward an analysis of Hilltop Center — which he said would determine whether the building should be gutted or a new dining facility should be built. But whether or not that happens depends on the size of Sodexo’s contribution, he said.

Paese said with some of its “serious” safety hazards, between leaks dripping onto bowling lanes in Hilltop’s Bowling and Billiards Center and dips in Hilltop’s kitchen floor, he said the facility is in “desperate need for repair.”

“Right now, as you can all imagine, that is very appealing,” he said.

Senator Stephen Kahlow said taking the matter to a full bid process may result in a loss of benefits Sodexo currently offers.

And though four senators acknowledged the resolution’s phrasing of Sodexo’s “high ratings of satisfaction” among the student body, Kahlow said there’s inherent “reporting bias,” in that students are more likely to report negative than positive feedback.

“And I think it’s important to get more feedback than just what students say in their 2-year survey,” Kahlow said.

The open forum will be held Tuesday night in the Colleen Bader Room at 8 p.m. in Davies.