February 17, 2005

Back from Meetings ... working on Food Services

While, I just finished my first round of meetings today.
Not surprisingly, I was over in the University-Controlled Residences and saw that Aramark (along with the University, they take 50% of the profit) is ripping students off again. They cancelled Dinner on Friday and shutdown all meals services for residents until Sunday at Lunch. Not to worry for Aramark, in the contract, they are allowed to do this and still charge the students for the meals. I spoke with one student who had to go to a foodbank because he had paid his 2889 (corrected figure) dollars for the school year for meals. This being the lowest amount one can pay for the really bad food that Aramark serves and this only buys him 11 meals a week! He goes grocery shopping and takes vitamins to try to actually get nutrition. I used to have to do this. I am now in the Ukrainian Orthodox college on the edge of campus which is not controlled by the University or Aramark. I get 19 good meals a week for the same price as their 15 meals a week in Pembina Hall.
Now, where I am going with this?
I am angry, first of all the University is ripping off students to begin with. But to rip them off and then not serve them meals! I know the contract says they can do this but anywhere else, this would be called what it is: HIGHWAY ROBBERY!
On this note, I am fighting to get the University to change it practice of the lowest quality food at the highest possible prices to the a new model of the highest quality food at the lowest possible prices.
I look at it this way, I am leaving the University of Manitoba because I could not believe how poorly they treated me as a resident student and I do not like being ripped off so badly … but…
I came out here very excited to be in Manitoba and I have loved the people and location. I know that University enrollment across the country is about to drop and that Southern Ontario Universities will soon be coming out here to Manitoba to find high school students to recruit. The University of Manitoba needs to change it ways in order to survive in this environment. I believe that the University of Manitoba has everything a University could ask for and could be one of the best schools in Canada, it justs need to change it ways and instead of trying to make profits by screwing students, they need to serve students and make it so that students want to be on campus.
I researched food services at McMaster and uploaded a bunch of the pictures on my website….
Check out these pictures, these are all food service locations on the campus of McMaster University
Correction made 1144EST 18 Feb: Meal Services reopen at lunch on Sunday now
Additional: Turns out that the meal hall kitchen has been working all week on feeding the University Administration and their functions. Nice to see U of M has its priorities straight, Administrators are well fed (they have a different supply of food for them than students) and the students are forced to pay for meals that are not served!
Corrections made 1210CST 24 Feb: Meal Rate for 11/meals a week is 2889 dollars a year. I went off of the total rez + food rate – 315/mth for rent. Turns out that rent during the school year is higher than summer rates. University actually takes 50% of the profits. This makes it very difficult for Aramark to improve food quality or facilities when they have to make a profit themselves.