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Sodexho improvements: ‘one step forward and two steps back’

When a friend initially suggested that I write an editorial about Sodexho and Carte Blanche, I was skeptical.

I mean, who’s going to write angry editorials defending Sodexho (aside from the managers, of course)? But then I discovered that it costs $5 at Brower Food Court for a fruit cup and a bottle of water.

Every time Sodexho promises to make a change to improve the dining facilities on campus, the end result seems to be one step forward and two steps back.

Sodexho announced that it would give all students with Carte Blanche the option of spending $4.75 at Brower Food Court during lunch hours, to decrease congestion in Eickhoff. And then the prices were raised to the extent that a sandwich and a drink cost more than $4.75.

Now it is still possible, however, to get a greasy burger and a soda for less than that, which is perplexing. Sodexho claims that it’s interested in providing students with healthy alternatives, but if that is the case, why are healthy options vastly more expensive than greasy burgers?

Or consider the fact that Sodexho claims Eickhoff is now open until 9 p.m. to accommodate students who have classes that end after 8 p.m. This might be true in theory, but when I was there last Tuesday at 8 p.m., the place was already essentially closed.

Not only had about half of the serving areas already closed, but they had even pulled down a gate.

I suppose it was open in the sense that if some one wanted a salad or leftover pizza they could get it, but to claim that Eickhoff is now open until 9 p.m. is a joke.

Perhaps if the quality of food at other colleges and universities in New Jersey was equally bad, the state of the food at the College might be understandable.

But students at Rutgers pay the same price that we do for room and board at the College, and their dining services are vastly superior. Montclair State University also has its dining halls run by Sodexho, and people who have tried both dining halls agree that Montclair is superior.

So what gives? Why can Sodexho provide quality food at Montclair, but it can’t even provide clean silverware at the College? Of course, it should come as no surprise that Sodexho is doing such a poor job.

The College is required by state law to hire the lowest bidder for any job, which explains why the contractors the College hires fail to provide quality food and build science complexes and apartments with architectural flaws.

Sodexho was the lowest bidder, and therefore the College was required by law to hire it.

But that doesn’t mean that the College is required to rehire Sodexho. According to state law, an institution can hire someone other than the lowest bidder if the institution has had a negative experience with the lowest bidder in the past five years.

Now, let’s be reasonable. We could perhaps argue that merely having a low quality of food, long lines and a standing order to ration items are not indicative of a negative experience.

But repeatedly finding “brown, goopy things inside of cups,” as reported last week in the Signal Spotlight, or getting sick from the food, is probably not a good sign.

Frankly, given the sanitary conditions at Eickhoff, I am somewhat surprised that there hasn’t been an outbreak of botulism on campus.

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