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Students should be informed of meal plan changes

Simply put, Bon Appetit Management Company has failed to deliver.

Touted for the ability to provide services Mills College cannot provide itself given its small size, there has been no significant increase in quality-only in price. In addition, students were informed of the switch after they had already signed up for this year’s meal plans and they chose their individual plans based on what they thought the rules were going to be this year.

On June 27, over a month after the spring semester had ended, Mills students must have been surprised to notice an interesting e-mail in their inboxes. Once opened, it revealed that Mills’ food service was being contracted out.

Campanil staff members couldn’t have been the only ones curious to find out if there were any differences in the quality of the food or in how the system operated, when we arrived back on campus this fall.

When we did, we saw dining services definitely had some changes. Some of us love the new Global section in the Tea Shop and at Founders Commons, while others bewail the loss of the vegetarian side. A select few are saying a few prayers for the quick recuperation of the frozen yogurt machine to run daily. But what none of us anticipated was the seemingly unnecessary and entirely uncommunicated change in rules regarding meal plans.

Stipulations governing meal plans should have stayed the same from last school year to this one. First, it is only common courtesy; and second, we signed contracts last year binding us to our respective plans. How can those rules change without making all of those signatures null and void? Plus, the administration said it had been considering such an action for about a decade, and most likely had contracted with Bon Appetit before the end of school. So why wait to inform the students?

Besides the facts that the meal plans shouldn’t have been changed at all, and if so the Mills community should have been informed sooner, it would have been appropriate to at least include in the June e-mail the changes in prices and rules about each meal plan.

Students came to school this year expecting to use their meal swipes in the Tea Shop once a day, for example, or being able to use a swipe to afford a sandwich instead of just a soda. We realize that a new service brings with it changes, but the real problem is the lack of communication about these changes.

How hard is it to tell students about what is going on at their own school?

So, we’re now forced to pay more for meals bought in the Tea Shop and Cafe Suzie, but the price of a meal swipe is still only $4. We’re running out of points faster because we’re using them instead of that meal a day in the Tea Shop. Some of us are realizing that we only have 150 points left for the rest of the semester and much of that is because of the changes made to the system. We switched to 10 plus meal plans expecting to be able to use one meal a day in the Tea Shop, or moved up to 19 meals because we thought it would be more convenient when in reality, it is less so. It also feels like there is no single coherent set of rules being enforced here-Campanil staffers have heard different information from different food service workers.

We realize there might be reasons for all these changes. Prices have gone up because the food is supposed to come from sustainable sources and local farmers. However, none of these can explain why we weren’t told of these changes from the initial e-mail.