Spring Break Dining Delivered Frustration

Limited dining options, a closed gym and no computer lab access were a few of the things students who stayed on campus experienced over their spring break.

“I felt like I was being forced out,” said UT sophomore Roman Cowan.

Cowan is from Jamaica and didn’t get a chance to go home this spring break.

“It was like they didn’t want us here. The dining halls were closed the majority of the time, and the food, or lack thereof, was limited. I will try my best not to stay next year.”

The Spartan Club remained closed through break, which is standard procedure, according to UT Spartan Club employee Shirley Barnes.

“We have always been closed for spring break and for the summer, but the cafeteria remains open for the break on extended hours.”

The Caf operated Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., according to Cedric Everett, a UT Sodexho employee.

“The pizza, classics, soup ‘n salad and a small deli section were open. After 7:30 we shut the classics and salad stuff down; pizza and burgers were available in a smaller set-up,” said Everett. “The first night we closed down at 9 p.m. because a lot of people were not coming in.”

“I was here, and the food was terrible. Classics and pizza were the only things open. If you didn’t want Classics, then you had to have pizza,” said Byron Lee, a UT junior also from Jamaica. “The food wasn’t substantial, and what happens to our meals that we didn’t use? Can we get reimbursed?”

Other students besides the international population were around on campus for educational and/or work purposes. UT senior Krysten Loielo spent her break at school because she is interning.

“The food was horrible. There was nothing there, and the small portions of food that were available to us were eaten up by the visiting crew teams that were present over break,” said Loielo. “It made me feel like I had to pay for food and eat out everyday even though I was still being charged for my meal plan. I am interning, and the last thing I wanted to do was come home and cook.”

Sodexho representatives at UT were contacted several days prior to publication for a response to the students’ questions, but failed to reply.

The dining services weren’t the only departments that made the students feel unwelcome over spring break. The McNiff Fitness Center shut their doors for the entire spring break as well.

“We knew that there were going to be enough kids at school to have the gym open. However, out of my 23 total student employees, two indicated that they would be around to work,” said Charles Allen, UT Coordinator of Campus Recreation. “If staff would have been here and available to work, the gym would have been open. Unless I am told to do so by my superiors, I am not going to make or require the students to work when it’s their spring break.”

Allen went on to mention that students were still able to enjoy recreational activities, with access to the tracks, volleyball, tennis and basketball courts being available to them.

The computer labs were another on-campus service that were put on restricted hours due to spring break. The Mac Lab, Sykes Computer Lab and the Vaughn Computer Lab were completely closed.

On Saturday, March 3, the Jaeb Computer Lab opened from noon until 5 p.m., was closed Sunday, and was open again Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. The following Saturday it was closed, and was open on the last Sunday of break from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m.

“I had lots of print outs that I needed. Getting home and situated at 4 p.m. sometimes made it difficult for me to get my work accomplished before 6 p.m.,” said Loielo. “At 6 p.m. the lab employees were putting you out.”

To the surprise of many the bookstore kept its doors open through the entire break, with an hour shift change from their usual times of operation.

“We have always been open during spring break. We had work to do, and there’s always work to do,” said Mike Comiskey, manager of the UT bookstore. “This is my first spring break. We had students that came in here, but overall it was pretty dead around here.”

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