Kent State, Aramark cut ties

Emma Andrus Reporter

Kent State’s contract with Aramark, a dining and food services corporation, will end beginning July 1, the university announced in an email Monday.

“I share with you today that, beginning July 1, Kent State and Aramark are bringing this partnership to a close, and we will resume direct management of dining services at all our campuses, including the College of Podiatric Medicine,” Lamar Hylton, vice president for student affairs, said in the email statement.

The university entered into its contract with Aramark in 2017, and its dining and food services operations have been managed by the company since then. Prior to 2017, Kent State dining was previously run by Sodexo, a food services corporation. During this time period, they were on the list of the top 50 Best College Dining Experiences. 

The contract was set to expire June 30, 2025, but its terms and conditions allow either party to terminate the contract with 90 days of notice.

“Bringing management and implementation of dining services in-house will allow us to continue enhancing the experience for our university community,” Hylton said in the email. 

Students have previously expressed dissatisfaction with the company, citing factors such as food quality, lack of including nutritional information for foods and ties to private and public prisons. A coalition of students presented President Todd Diacon with a list of demands Feb. 11, 2020, including calls for the university’s partnership with the company to come to an end. Students employed by Aramark have also previously expressed dissatisfaction with wages

The university statement said the transition to being a self-operated dining program will begin with discussions with students, faculty and staff. Hylton said Gary Goldberg, the assistant vice president for Student Engagement and Services, will lead the transition process. 

Students currently employed by Aramark will continue their work without change to employment status, the email said. 

“We look forward to this new direction for University Dining Services and continuing to provide a quality dining experience for our entire university,” Hylton said in the email.

Emma Andrus covers administration. Contact her at [email protected].