By Vanessa Thomas
Dining at Ryerson is hard to digest for some students. But those with churning stomachs can now speak out.
Posters placed around campus last week asked students to e-mail complaints or concerns about Food Services.
So far, 11 of 14 complaints addressed sanitation, vegetarian, service and presentation issues.
One student e-mailed her frustration at being a forced vegetarian because of allergies to animal fat products. She was promised a varied vegetarian mean when she moved into residence, but is not satisfied with her limited menu.
“I have been forced to eat pasta two times a day except for the days that the pasta has cheese in it, then I have to eat a veggie burger two times a day,” said a resident at the International Living Learning ILLC). “After a while it starts to get frustrating that there are only two possible hot food choice.”
Another student e-mailed he was disgusted at students reaching onto the food display and snacking on fries. He questioned the number of people who touched his food before he did.
His solution was to place a “sneeze shield,” another plate over his food, to ensure only servers have contact with his food.
“The students themselves are coming up with legitimate answers and solutions to the problems with Food Services,” said John McGowan, RyeSAC v.p. development and finance. “RyeSAC and residence organized the poster campaign to address food complaints with formal documentation.”
Posters were put up last Tuesday, but administration said the phrase “concern or complaint” was leading and biased. New posters with the word “compliment or concern” replaced the originals Friday. There have been no compliments about Food Services so far.
Versa Food Services caters the food for the Hub Market, Pitman Hall cafeteria, Coffee Time and the two Java Cafes.
The ILLC dining room is not run by Versa.
Robert Zmak, director of Food Services, said Versa wants to renew their four-year contract that ends in June.
“We’re working on vegetarian programs because of current trends in dietitian practices and ethnic cuisines,” said Zmak.
John Corallo, business manager of ancillary services, said e-mail documentation will aid in Ryerson’s decision.
“We have several options,” said Corallo. “We can operate in house again, by doing it ourselves with our own management and directors, renegotiate with Versa or approach several other campus food companies.”
Food contracts cost Pitman Hall residents $1,380 partial meal plan and $2,200 for the full one. ILLC residents pay $1,900 for the small plan and $2,100 for the larger plan.
A Residence Food Committee of students already exists to address food issues.