Aramark Deal Marks Latest Move Toward Privatization At UK

Jun 10, 2014

The UK Board of Trustees is moving forward with a 15-year, $250 million dollar contract with private dining services provider Aramark.

UK president Eli Capilouto calls the agreement one that will "transform overnight" the way the university delivers meals on campus.

Officials say the contract will reduce the cost of UK's six student meal plans, bring new food brands to campus, and include guarantees to increase Kentucky Proud and local food purchasing.

Trustee David Hawpe applauded the deal at Tuesday’s meeting, saying he believes the proposal "successfully balances public and private interests and I think it offers the university and its students significant ongoing benefits and real opportunities for innovation."

The move comes despite a series of student protests, led by UK's United Students Against Sweatshops. The group has argued that keeping dining services public would give UK greater control over local food options and employee benefits.

Trustee Sheila Brothers echoed those concerns before the vote.

"In my opinion, I believe that Aramark's bottom line remains their financial success and I still believe that a UK entity managed by UK employees and run by UK employees is the best for the University of Kentucky," she told the board.

Brothers supplied the only abstention in an otherwise unanimous vote in favor of privatization.

UK began a historic $348 million public-private partnership with Memphis-based developer Education Realty Trust in 2012 to build new and manage new dorms.

Read more here: