Dining overhaul requires greater transparency

Bradley’s current food provider, Eurest, provides every food item sold on campus. That covers everything from food served in the dining halls to chicken sandwiches served in the Student Center to the pizza sold at Center Court. But this year was the last year of Eurest’s contract to provide those services to campus.

Early this school year, a committee was formed to examine other food provider options. The committee is made up of both faculty members and students. All we know is that they are supposed to give a recommendation to President Glasser, who has the final say. But the decision process has been shrouded in mystery.

All we have learned has been minimal, including generally repetitive statements saying that yes, the contract is ending and yes, they are looking at other options.

However, this week dining service employees received a letter from Eurest indicating that their contract with Bradley will end in June. The letter stated that Eurest workers’ “employment…will end permanently as of June 10, 2012.” The letter also stated, “It is expected that a new dining service operator will immediately resume services previously managed by Eurest and in that process may interview employees previously under contract…”

A single letter distributed to Eurest employees across campus revealed more information than what has been exposed to the student body. Vice President of Business Affairs Gary Anna said the university will not make a statement about the upcoming change until contracts with the incoming food service provider are finalized. But the students deserve to know what is going on.

This is not a decision to be taken lightly, and we are not accusing the university of making a poor decision in leaving Eurest. But the manner that administration has handled this has been completely void of transparency. It’s understandable that some things, like specific business models, have to be kept under wraps. But we don’t even know what criteria the committee used in their considerations.

Students deserve to know what kinds of changes are coming to Bradley, especially when it involves something that will affect every student who eats on campus. With a new food provider, will there be a change in cost? Will vegan and vegetarian options be a priority? Will food change in the Student Center and Center Court? Will meal plans change?

We don’t know.

The process as a whole has been vague. According to Anna, a final decision will be made by the end of May, but that’s obvious, considering the employees’ contracts end June 10. The names of the companies, the process and the deciding factors are all secretive when they don’t have to be.

In addition to the lack of communication from administration, there has been little student involvement.

If anyone needs to have a voice in the university’s impending new food service contract, it’s the students. They are the ones who will be eating it and paying for it. They are the ones who should have a hand in deciding what food they will be offered for the duration of their time at Bradley.

That, coupled with how heavily guarded every facet of this decision has been, makes it seem like students have no business knowing what will happen with the food contract. Considering their tuition money funds that cost, they deserve more from the university than declining to comment.