By Sami Haeick
Many University of Dallas students have expressed concern regarding the quality of the food served in the cafeteria. The concerns began with a change in the meal plan options. Every student that lives on campus next year must pay for an “All Access” meal plan. Now, the University of Dallas administration says that there is more than one meal plan option, but in reality, the only option is all access. There is no “7 Meal” plan, which was available during the 2014-2015 school year, and there are no “10 Meal” or “14 Meal” plans, which were available two years ago. All students who live on campus must pay almost $2,000 more per year than they did with the “7 Meal” plan. I am completely baffled as to how one universal plan can truly meet every student’s needs. Having at least one more option would give students more flexibility.
A few of my classmates and I felt it unfair to pay such a grand amount of money for such low quality food. Also, if the plan is all access, shouldn’t food be available during all hours of service? This school year, it is most certainly not. Students have been told that the grill is closed, and the home zone and gluten friendly sections have had nothing out to eat, forcing students to choose either a sandwich or a salad. If students are going to pay the amount they are paying, the least the school could do for these students is give them more options with higher quality food.
These complaints from students about the unfair meal plan gave me and a few friends and a perfect reason to start a petition. The petition has three main initiatives directed at Aramark and the administration: Allow students choices in the number of meals they pay for, so that the plan can “meet their needs and budgets” (Aramark), increase the quality of the food, and have food available at all stations during all hours of operation. In only a week we have received almost 650 signatures and dozens of comments from concerned students, parents and alumni. Over 30 students shared the link to the petition on Facebook. Along with the petition we decided to create a Facebook page where students can post their concerns about Aramark. On this page students have posted pictures of empty food sections, raw food and bugs in their food, as well as comments about the new expenses. Also, Clare Myers wrote an article on the new changes, which has received over 400 views.
Overall, the goal of this petition was for students’ dissatisfaction about the new meal plan and the quality of the food to be heard. The price we pay is not reflected in the quality of the food that is served. Hopefully, this petition will be noted by the administration and new changes will be made in regards to the quality, availability and affordability of meal plans.