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ASBSU condemns Aramark for restaurant closures due to staffing issues, seeks damages

Photo by Taylor Humby | The Arbiter

The Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU) unanimously condemned Aramark, the food service vendor used by the university, for the closure of restaurant locations on campus, including SouthFork Market in Sawtooth Hall and limited hours at other locations on Wednesday.

During the first joint meeting between the Academic Senate and General Assembly on Wednesday, Sept. 15, ASBSU President Kenneth Huston introduced a resolution to formally condemn the company.

This year, Aramark has experienced consistent employment issues, resulting in the closure of SouthFork Market at the start of the school year, along with closures and limited hours at other Aramark-run restaurant locations on campus.

Specifically, the resolution stated that Aramark had breached its contractual obligations with the university by failing to keep these locations open for students, many of whom have already paid for meal plans. 

The resolution’s full purpose is as follows: “To condemn the University food service vendor Aramark for breach of contract and failing to serve students in a manner that represents the value of meal plans and for failing to promote a positive work environment that promotes recruiting and retaining employees to remain at Boise State.”

Nicole Nimmons, associate vice president of Campus Services, was also in attendance for the ASBSU meeting. Nimmons said that the university has attempted to work with Aramark on the issue, such as assisting them with the company’s marketing, but no significant headway has been made. 

ASBSU is seeking damages for the meal services students have paid for but have been unable to attain as a result of the “devastating effect on students’ basic needs to access food service.” 

According to the resolution, damages could include meal equivalencies to be used at other retail locations, an additional $25 flex dollars per week that SouthFork is closed and a partial refund to weekly meal plan holders in the amount of 50%.

The resolution’s conclusion states that if Aramark can’t “rectify the dining problems outlined in this document in a timely manner,” then ASBSU will demand the university to terminate their contract with the company. 

The resolution also recommends that the Dining Food Services Board should terminate the university contract with Aramark if changes aren’t made, and that the university should not renew the Aramark contract in the future.

Third-party campus food locations such as Guru Donuts, Tree City Juice and Smoothie Cafe, Paddles Up Poke and Poppy Seed Cafe are not run by Aramark, and are thus unaffected by this resolution.

"The B" statue on Boise State campus.
[Photo of ‘The B’ statue on Boise State’s campus]
Taylor Humby | The Arbiter
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