Members in Attendance:
Ria Shroff (ISAP), Kirstin French (January-Start PIMs), Tami Brunelle (MAT, Chamba Kaluba (C T), Erin Maslanik (SJ), Maggie Dudley (SLM), Annie Hostetter (SD).
Student Concerns about Sudexo
Approximately 20 students attended the meeting to hear information, presented by Tony Drapelick, and ask questions about the recent contract SIT signed with Sudexo.
From talking with numerous students since last week, Tony noticed there seems to be three major concerns:
The surprise of the change and the fact that only small group of people knew about it.
The fact that decisions are being made by small group of people.
The choice of Sodexo itself ( who are contracted for food and facilities which includes grounds and housekeeping)
Tony provided some information about the current financial issue surrounding the decision to use Sodexo instead of resigning with from FITZ VOGT (FV), who has been the food service provider since the 1970s. Sodexo will begin as the provider at the end of the month as FV did not want to operate till the end of the current contract (which would have ended in Jan.)
Basically, there are fewer students which creates a loss in revenue which is a big deal for a small college. Last year there was a food deficit – because number enrolled and number living on campus is lower – and there needs to be a way to close deficit gap. Tony worked closely with Gene to close the complete deficit gap but could find no solutions. There is a need for financial viability and that is why there was the decision to sign with Sodexo, who will also provide SIT with some funding.
Currently there are 71 people living on campus 65 who are students (usually this number ranges from 90-100)
For the 2010 Fiscal year there was $32,000 operating cost loss: the projected loss for next year is $100,000.
SIT is only one of the four parts which make up World Learning (WL). Usually the institution draws from WL’s surplus; however those funds are needed to keep the overseas programs legally compliant.
There is real mandate for SIT to be self-sufficient.
Even though WL may utilize some of SIT’s resources, like the library, it is removed from SIT because it doesn’t use the physical campus.
Following his presentation, and prior to opening up the floor, SITSA member Kirsten explain to the group of students, that SITSA represents body therefore at this time member can facilitate the conversation but there are limitations as to how members can participate-perhaps leadership will emerge and determine what action will happen. Also she explained, that based on other issues that have been brought up on campus, it is important to remember this most recent issue is a symptom of a larger systematic issue.
Some of the issues brought forth during the open discussion were:
Funds, the money which is paid for food goes to food provider.
Housing money stays on campus-if housing drops that may cause a shift that housing may shift to Sodexho as well a food and facilities.
Transparency – with WL, faculty, administration, and students-Some students do not want those who are detached make decisions without including the voices of those who are effected. How do decisions match up with mission and new vision
Food/Facilities employees - benefits package of the facility workers, whose benefits might change or may be lost (-WL does have some control/not sure to what extent the benefits will be effected). To find out the information, perhaps facilities employees will know.
Food – what kind of food will now be provided- not what students paid for/with or without Sodexho,
Fairness – its not fair that those who live on campus have to pay for food services (should also be an issue to address)
Clarity: be clear on what we, as students, are targeting and be aware of the side effects of our actions
Examine root causes/do not make rash decisions, see how we can resolve issues not just react
What can we do?
Boycott food – use petition that makes reasons explicit
Move off campus
Involve community and the press
If this isn’t what we want what are the alternatives
Organize appreciation for workers/support them so they fell recognized
Support staff in transition, a committee was formed to support staff, Erin Maslanik will start that committee.
Need for a plan- clearly define demands, and consequences
Possibly a Sit in Adams office