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Letter to the Editor: Students have a right to decide how to use their swipes

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AN OPEN LETTER TO CHARTWELLS AND THE STUDENT GOVERNMENT FOOD SERVICES COMMITTEE (FSC):

I am specifically speaking to Chin-Hong Chua, Richard Yennerell, Michael Giese, Sarah Williams, Steven Granados, Crystal Harris, Marisol Casas, Alberto Trujillo, Richard Guerrero, Jeania Brandon, Joe Lopez, Matthew Couser, Andy Mumma, Amy Mitchell, Jay Smith, Jonathan Sorenson, Dustin Bruce, Jacob Jackson, Chase Taylor, Arnulfo Cardenas, Elizabeth Smith, and Louis Wooderts, as all of you are listed as some kind of manager/director for Chartwells at Texas State.

I am also speaking to any part of student government or administration that deals with the food services committee. The committee members are not listed on student government’s website, otherwise I would name all of you here, too.

If you have a problem being listed in this letter, I suggest you do something about the problem I am addressing.

The word from the most recent Student Government meeting is that students will no longer be allowed to use their meal plan to feed anyone else by “swiping” anyone who isn’t that student. This is completely absurd and such transparent greediness that I, a senior at Texas State and a former employee of Chartwells, am appalled. I have seen firsthand just how much food gets thrown away at the end of the day, and I know firsthand the ridiculous sums of money that Chartwells makes by preying on poor and hungry college students.

Once a student buys a meal plan, it’s paid for. Chartwells has their money. So why institute this draconian rule of only feeding students who have meal plans? Food insecurity is already a problem for so many students on our campus. (See also, here and here.) No one with any kind of morals would try to do something like this.

Chartwells doesn’t care about students, and they never have. All we are to them is a bottom line, and a steady supply of new student workers to exploit. (Don’t think we haven’t noticed the turnaround rate for student workers at Chartwells. It doesn’t take long for us to realize why Chartwells is always hiring.)

Regardless of Chartwells’ existence as a parasite leaching off of Bobcats, the autonomy of our students is at risk. If a student has already decided to spend their money on a meal plan—or was forced into it due to living on campus—then they should be able to decide for themselves when, how, and on what to spend that money on.

How students spend their meal plan is NOT something for Chartwells or anyone else to dictate. We’re adults, and we’re already getting forced into buying meal plans in the first place, Chartwells has no right to try and dictate how we spend our money.

As for the members of the Food Service Committee: your JOB is to represent the interests of students. There are no student benefits from this whatsoever. The only winner here is Chartwells, a corporation that will always prioritize their own bottom-line. It is your job as the committee to advocate for students against things like this. Is this really what you want to do with your power? Because if it is, then I’d like all of your names so I can know who to advocate against in the next SG election.

Do better.

Monica Richerson

English Major, Sociology Minor, Member the Honors College, Former Chartwells Employee, and Former President of Lambda of Texas State

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