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MUSG recommends university dump Sodexo

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Marquette Student Government senators are recommending that the university terminate its contract with Sodexo as dining services provider and seek an alternative vendor.

The 21-4 decision came at Thursday’s Senate meeting following debate over whether the university should seek to sever ties with Sodexo or simply compromise with the vendor, which has been Marquette’s food service provider for more than a decade.

Bill Doerrer, a senior in the the College of Arts & Sciences and one of the authors of the legislation, argued that dining services improvement is a top priority for students.

“Enough is enough,” Doerrer said. “It’s time for a change.”

Alex Engler, a freshman in the College of Communication and senator from Cobeen Hall, said she was lucky to have one of the “better” dining halls, but was still hearing complaints from students on a regular basis.

“We need to change this,” Engler said. “I don’t want to have a food services program that doesn’t fit my needs.”

Daniel O’Brien, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences and a senator from Straz Tower, said he hadn’t attended a single Hall Council meeting where problems with dining services hadn’t been raised.

But some senators didn’t agree.

Trent Carlson, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, said the university should compromise with Sodexo rather than looking at new vendors entirely.

“Working with them can be much better than saying, ‘Let’s terminate our contract,’ ” Carlson said.

Joey Kimes, a junior in the College of Communication, said student feedback has been enough to change problems with dining service in the past. He cited the extension of McCormick Hall’s hours as one such instance.

“I don’t understand why more student feedback can’t solve these problems,” Kimes said.

Doerrer encouraged senators to approve the recommendation because it was what the majority of students wanted.

“Regardless of personal feelings … we need to represent the students on this,” Doerrer said.

The legislation cited a survey by the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International/Educational Benchmarking Incorporated that polled student satisfaction with dining services at 270 institutions.

Marquette students ranked satisfaction in “quality of food,” “the dining environment,” “cleanliness of the dining area,” “variety of dining plan options,” “dining service hours,” and “value of the dining plan” below the average of all schools.

“Value of the dining plan” was the lowest-ranked category, with Marquette only earning a 3.69 out of a possible 6 points.

In addition, the survey revealed that students’ satisfaction with dining services has decreased over time. A series of studies done by the Alumni Memorial Union — where Sodexo-operated Marquette Place is located — came to the same conclusion, according to the legislation.

Both Dan Auger, general manager for university dining services and Todd Vicker, executive director of the AMU, were present at the Thursday meeting when the recommendation was passed.

Vicker said in an interview Monday that he was surprised by the MUSG recommendation and thought the senators’ claims that there had been no improvement was debatable.

“To claim we’re doing nothing is unfair,” Vicker said.

Sodexo representatives did not return calls seeking comment at press time.

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1 Comment

One Response to “MUSG recommends university dump Sodexo”

  1. 09 Alum on November 24th, 2009 1:18 pm

    The improvement in food quality at least at Marquette place during my 4 years at MU was very noticeable. Didn’t eat much in the dining halls junior-senior year, but Schroeder’s Italian food was excellent. They also gave us the meal exchanges in the last two years, which previously had been a fight. I’m also a fan of the new food vendor at the Annex. All of these improvements and changes just in the last few years show Sodexo is MORE than willing to work with the University to fix problems students and staff have with the foodservice. Dissatisfaction doesn’t mean they have to terminate the contract. The University can explore other options without ending the contract – more of a competitive bid system. I think that’s a better option than recommending an outright termination.

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