By Daniel DeMarco | Staff Writer|
Food quantities, prices, and selection have stirred controversy across the CSUSB campus.
Allegations center around decreasing portion sizes with prices remaining the same or rising.
Some believe the increase in minimum wage may be the cause of these perceived changes.
According to Dave Janosky, general manager of Sodexo at CSUSB, minimum wage has nothing to do with portion or price changes.
Sodexo is the company that manages most of the food on campus such as the Commons cafeteria, the Student Union food court, and the various food concession stands.
Sodexo does not manage the vending machines or the bookstore.
“All food has increased to match inflation and we limited our price increases to only a few items this year,” stated Janosky.
Janosky explains that the Blue Coyote Pub and Eatery seems to be the only source of the phenomena regarding food portions.
Regular patrons of The Blue Coyote Pub have voiced concerns over shrinking food portions in the popular eatery.
Janosky explained Sodexo is already in the process of fixing the problem and are even creating a new student-driven menu for the pub.
In reference to other complaints of portion changes, he believes it is more an issue of perception and not actual changes in amounts (different food containers for example).
Janosky also explains that some things have actually increased in portion size such as the burgers served at the Commons, which he says are now up to 6 oz from 4 oz previously.
According to Janosky they are always keeping up with competitor’s prices in the area, always trying to remain even or lower whenever they can.
However, a longtime Sodexo employee who asked to remain anonymous, believes the prices are “ridiculous” and that portions are indeed decreasing. The employee also claims almost all the food on campus has see a rise in price.
Coca-Cola has forced the school to lower prices on their products before because they felt the school was “price gouging” their products, said the anonymous employee.
Another concern centers around taxes on food that should not be taxed, such as fruits.
Students Tania Mejia and Jackie Padilla said they prefer to go off campus to buy food because they say it’s cheaper.
Mejia and Padilla say that the Student Union is usually “too crowded” and the food is “greasy.”
In regards to the Commons they say the food is “better for you” and “better quality,” but that the prices are too high.
Students Ryan Weaver, Steven Pittman, and Nick Steffes eat on campus every day only because of their mandated meal plans. They say the prices of food are “way too high,” and that were it not for their meal plans, they would eat off campus.
Student Anagabriela Sweeney says she has never purchased food on campus.
Upon seeing campus food prices, she said she was shocked and that she has no intention of ever purchasing food at school.
Sweeney believes that with student expenses such as tuition and parking passes, the school should be helping the students more.
“They’re taking advantage of students because they know we need the food,” said Sweeney.
Prices seem to vary across campus as well.
An Odwalla juice/protein/smoothie drink can be bought for $3.19 at the bookstore or for $3.09 in the Student Union, whereas a Core Power protein drink can be bought for $3.49 at the bookstore or $4.69 at the Student Union.
Out of 40 students polled on campus, all 40 said they believed campus food prices were too high.