Molloy Tackles Food Dilemma Head On
By: Richard Staple | Jr. News Content Editor | MolloyLife Media
Last week, the bombshell discovery that students of Molloy College were subject to food that was undercooked and contaminated came to light. From broccoli served with maggots to chicken that was undercooked, the popular food staple on campus, the Anselma Room, has been shut down until further notice.
“I literally could not believe it. I eat here all the time because I usually do not have time to eat at home. Now I’m kind of worried I may have contracted something,” Sophomore Jeffrey Yi said. Multiple other students shared Jeffrey’s sentiments.
A mutual source of anger came with the knowledge that the school was increasing prices for various food selections at the Anselma Hall, according to a sign on the grill bar. Junior Trevor Salerno was stern with his feelings. “How can you raise prices of the food while at the same time serving us food that can send us to the hospital? Someone has to be held accountable for this.”
The situation was made known to Molloy College administration after junior student Hailey Wehr created a petition calling for the removal of the Anselma Room’s food provider. “I decided to create a petition, addressing our concerns, hoping our voices would be heard. I received about 100 signatures within 5 minutes.”
Following the administration’s discovery of the undercooked food, an internal investigation conducted by the food service, Compass USA, ensued. Janine Payton, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, said that the decision was made to [mutually] part ways with the food service provider following the investigation. Compass USA has not responded to an email requesting comment on the decision.
Payton, along with Ken Young, the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, could not confirm if it was the food provider or staff that was ultimately responsible for the undercooked and unsanitary food. “I have no idea whether or not the fault was on the part of the vendor or the kitchen staff, but a change was needed. One [sick kid] is one too many,” Young said.
Following the closure of the Anselma Room, a question of food options on campus became apparent.
Payton said that food trucks have been vying to get on the campus for quite a while, and with the aforementioned closure, the option became a short-term solution.
However, Payton recognizes it is only a temporary fix, noting the challenges of using food trucks as a primary source of food for students and faculty. “The difficulty behind the food trucks is that there’s no commitment. However, the weather was nice and it creates a festival-like atmosphere. There is a wide variety to choose from as well.”
There has been a very positive response from students to how quickly the changes has taken place. President of Molloy Student Government Anne Collins gave immense credit for the school’s response to the situation.
“On a personal level, I think they moved very quickly in meeting the needs of our campus. From talking to students, everyone is mostly excited that we are getting a new vendor. The school has reasonably done everything in its power to accommodate everyone’s needs.”
Anne added that the details regarding the transition to a different vendor are still pending. “The food trucks are our temporary solution for now as it accepts all forms of payment, including meal plans. But everything is day-to-day and the school is working to create a contract, so there is no concrete information at this time.”
Accommodations for resident students who have paid in advance for meal plans have also been made, according to Payton. Free meals at the beginning and end of the day are provided for those who stay on campus in lieu of the temporary changes on campus.
An exact date for the adoption of a new vendor is not currently known; however, Payton said that an interim food vendor would be used beginning as early as next week. “Whoever comes in on a temporary basis, we will make sure it is the right one. We hope to sign on with a vendor next week which will transition into the rest of the fall semester,” Payton says.
With all of this new change, there are still students that are concerned that an event such as this will re-occur. “We want to act quickly and meet the needs of the students. It is sort of like dating, where you want to impress someone and you’re not ready to commit, but you also want to pull out all the stops,” Payton said, commenting on the importance of choosing the right vendor following the recent issues.
The excitement of a new food vendor along with the food trucks has created a buzz across campus after the swift, and well-received changes. Moving forward, the mutual desire from the students and administration is to have access to quality food sooner than later.