USG votes to recommend meal plan opt-out for students

Kent+State+Undergraduate+Student+Government+representatives+and+senators+go+over+their+reports+and+discuss+meal+plan+changes+in+their+first+meeting+of+the+semester+Wednesday%2C+Aug.+29%2C+2018%2C+in+the+Governance+Chambers.

Kent State Undergraduate Student Government representatives and senators go over their reports and discuss meal plan changes in their first meeting of the semester Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018, in the Governance Chambers.

Sara Crawford

 Editor’s note: This story corrects a previous article that stated USG members voted in favor of a resolution to allow students to opt out of meal plans. While USG did vote in favor of the resolution, members’ votes count as a recommendation.

Sara Crawford

Politics Reporter

 

Undergraduate Student Government members voted to recommend a possible meal plan exemption for undergraduates during their meeting Wednesday.

USG does not have the authority to implement the exemption, so the next move will be to submit the decision to Student Affairs and University Dining Services to “highlight USG’s stance on the issue,” USG President Thomas Watral said.

The possible change would allow undergraduates, including students living on campus who may be required to purchase a meal plan, the opportunity to “opt out” of Kent State’s meal plan.

“Maximizing the available choices offered to students and allowing them to handle their own food budget encourages personal responsibility and builds valuable life skills for adulthood beyond the University,” according to the Meal Plan Choice Resolution.

Currently, underclassmen can’t drop their meal plan, the resolution says, and get a refund.

Last fall, dining plans changed to include a new swiping system and Declining Balance Dollars. KentWired reported last semester on students’ negative feedback to Dining Services’ changes.

“The underlying issue is that we force people into a meal plan that they don’t want to be a part of,” said Kevin Cline, a senator for the College of Communication and Information. “They’ve restricted the choices they have, increased the cost and lowered the quality.”

Students eating three meals a day on campus, seven days a week, will be spending approximately $210 a week, or $25,200 over a four-year time period, Cline said.

“We should’ve rolled over on it three years ago when USG had their foot in the door with Aramark when this was all going down,” he added. “We failed to stand up for students then, and we can right the wrong here and try to give the students the option to opt out of this plan.”

Contact Sara Crawford at [email protected]