Update on Change.org dining hall petition

An Instagram post made by Kent State Students for a Democratic Society in protest of the conditions in the dining halls.

Megan Becker Assigning Editor

Dining hall representatives “refuse[d] to ‘wave a white flag’” after a meeting with the Undergraduate Student Government Sept. 15 and address the issues outlined in the dining hall petition on change.org.

According to an update written by Mace Saenger, a senior computer engineering major, USG met with Gary Goldberg, assistant vice president of student affairs, and Jill Jenkins, senior executive director of university housing and culinary services, to discuss the dining halls.

The update stated that student employees in dining services are being paid “barely livable” wages and have gone five weeks without pay.

“The university has cited labor shortage as a major reason for the disappointing dining experience, but are doing little to incentivize their workers with fair pay,” Saenger said. 

According to the Kent State 2021 payroll schedule on Flashline, students who worked between Aug. 29 and Sept. 21 will be paid on Sept. 24.

The petition was created by Kent State students to encourage the university to refund student meal plans due to food quality, lack of options and more. 

Saenger said they wrote the update in regards to the university’s response to the issues in the dining halls. Saenger started the group that made the petition.

In regards to claims that the DI Hub and the Eastway dining hall have served uncooked chicken to students, Goldberg and Jenkins told students that cooked chicken is supposed to be pink, Saenger wrote.

Lamar Hylton, the senior vice president for student affairs, sent an email to meal plan holders Sept. 8 saying that the university is aware of a student being served undercooked chicken in the dining halls. 

“We immediately took steps to ensure this does not happen again,” Hylton wrote in the email. “We have conducted a thorough inspection of equipment where chicken is cooked to ensure proper calibration, and we have begun retraining our associates, where appropriate, for specific food safety processes for chicken. Your health and safety are always our utmost priority.”

The Kent State University Chapter of Students for a Democratic Society posted on Instagram addressing the issues within the dining halls and urged students to fill out a survey on their dining experience. 

As of Sept. 23, the petition has more than 4,300 signatures.

Megan Becker is an assigning editor. Contact her at [email protected]