UR dining is suffering from severe staffing shortages, with Dining Services only employing 65% of their scheduled staffing level as compared to the usual 95%. With this drastic shift, hours have shortened at certain dining areas, and more niche options have closed entirely.

Dining Services is currently holding job fairs and working with SA’s community engagement team to send out job information to local organizations, as well as expanding student employee roles to all dining locations, however, the process takes weeks. 

Thus far, Roots and Shoots, Peet’s, the Faculty Club, and Southside Market have closed indefinitely, hours have been shortened at many locations, and the Pit rotates which stations are open at a given time.

To inform students of what they may see in the coming weeks from dining, Schauf also noted, “With the vaccination mandate deadline taking effect on 9/27, we are contingency planning for an additional loss in staffing. We have been working on several plans for operational changes and other food delivery/production solutions that will be announced later next week. We will continue to communicate through the website, student emails, and @Rochester as soon as new options are available.” 

The student response to the dining situation has been highly negative, with countless posts against dining administrators blasted across social media. The Instagram account @ur_secretsafe has become a hub for these grievances, and each post has multiple comments as a result of these changes.

“I deserve a refund on my dining plan,” one anonymous SecretSafe contributor said. “I don’t know what happened to the dining halls this year but the food is terrible!!! Like Danforth never even changes [its] offerings anymore,” said another. 

This anger isn’t just expressed anonymously — sophomore Areopl Bai is one of the more vocal UR students who has expressed discontent on social media. “We paid our bill — we aren’t asking for a staffing miracle overnight, but, at least, show some signs from administration that they are addressing staffing issues,” he posted to Instagram. 

There have been more than just verbalized complaints — a short petition to SA advocating for refunds of students’ dining plans, set up by junior Arielle Savoy, has reached over 300 signatures. “As a result of the dining hall staff shortage, hours are significantly reduced, making it impossible for some students to ever get a meal at the dining hall due to class schedules,” the petition states. “Students paid money for meal plans that they are unable to use, and therefore should receive a portion of that money back.”

When asked about the barriers to dining operations, Director of Campus Dining Services and Auxiliary Operations Cam Schauf said that “the timeline to return to normal operations is tied entirely to our ability to hire new employees. We are actively working on hiring new staff including student workers and working proactively with the union, human resources, and the Student Employment Office. We will evaluate each operation as we work to hire new staff […] All of our available resources are being directed toward addressing these issues.”

Tagged: Dining

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