UK Holds Final Public Meeting Before Private Dining Services Proposal Deadline

Nov 6, 2013

Thursday will mark the deadline for private dining services companies to submit proposals to the University of Kentucky.

Following in the footsteps of its revitalization efforts in student housing, UK is also considering outsourcing its dining services. Wednesday night, a small group of students, faculty, and staff voiced concerns heading into the process about companies that might be under consideration when the UK Dining Services Revitalization Committee begins examining the proposals this Friday.

Brock Meade, a UK student with United Students Against Sweatshops, said, "We think that the dining services would be best managed in house as they operate for students now rather than by a company like Aramark, Compass, and Sodexo that operate for a profit."

Meade points to ethics charges leveled against some of the major dining service companies. He also worries a private vendor won’t continue the university’s commitment to the local food economy.

Eric Monday, UK's executive vice president for finance and administration, says the university's RFP, or Request for Proposals, requires any potential vendor to lay out a plan for sustainability and engagement with local food growers.

"Really the focus is not only to sustain many of those great things that were talked about here today but how are those companies going to suggest and promise that they're going to do more," Monday says.

University officials hope for a decision on whether to move forward with negotiations with a private company by December.