Minneapolis, MN (FOX 9) – Students at the University of Minnesota say their on-campus meal plans are expensive, and they feel like they’re not getting what they paid for this school year.
“We pay for 24/7 service. We don’t get it,” said Michael Edwards, a new student.
Student after student told FOX 9 that the on-campus dining experience isn’t what it should be. They said opening hours have been cut and options are limited, and sometimes some food runs out in the dining halls.
“We’re actually paying for this stuff. It feels like I’m wasting my money. I feel like I’m being robbed,” said Esther Tipuy, a sophomore.
Freshmen said they are required to have an on-campus meal plan, but feel they are not getting their money’s worth.
“If you go there during the day as it is at set times, there’s hardly any food. They don’t restock the food when it goes out. So you have to be lucky, frankly, with a good meal,” said the new student, Zaid his blood.
The university’s restaurants said in a statement that they were facing an acute staff shortage that affected operations. The statement said the university has 142 employees based on original staffing plans. The university said it was focusing on hiring new staff and hiring students.
The statement reads in part: “We are taking measures to mitigate some of the challenges that have been created by reducing working hours or closing some of our retail locations (locations that are not within residence halls), as well as reducing working hours in some residential restaurants to ensure service levels highest for the largest number of hours in our residential locations.We realize that the alternative options may not be the most convenient, but we have always made sure that there are options for all students to access food during service hours.This may mean that the resident has to walk to another restaurant, rather than the restaurant that serves his place of residence.”
Campus staff said they feel underappreciated and have been asked to work harder and for longer hours.
“We come there wanting to give the students a good experience,” Sarah Barchels, building and flooring worker on campus. “There are many vacancies, and they are bringing in temporary employees who pay at higher wages than the current full-time employees.”
Students also said one of the dining halls offered Lunchables this week.
University Dining explained this in its statement, saying: “This is a retail snack available at a number of our locations, but it is not a meal or meal replacement at residential restaurants. In this case, the product was nearing its expiration date, and a bona fide employee placed it on the students for free.” , rather than just making it expire, but it wasn’t flagged as such to make it clear. All Lunchables were claimed before the Director arrived to remedy the situation.”