The motion to introduce a controversial new meal plan for Lister Centre failed to pass at a meeting of the University of Alberta’s Board of Governors. The proposed plan would have provided residents with unlimited access to the Lister cafeteria during opening hours for five or seven days a week. However, the plan would also have reduced students’ access to other dining options on campus, requiring them to return to Lister for their meals or pack a boxed lunch.
A previous version of the plan, which offered only one tier, failed to pass the board’s finance and property committee on November 21. A survey commissioned by the University of Alberta Students’ Union found more than 90 percent of Lister residence opposed that proposal, and many students felt the amended version put forward by the University of Alberta administration earlier this week did not adequately address concerns about flexibility.
The amended plan failed following a historic tie vote of the Board of Governors. Motions require a majority of board members to vote in favour to pass. Board members expressed concerns about the availability of dining options for students studying outside Lister Centre, the current quality of food provided by food services operator Aramark, and a proposed hot meal outlet in the Central Academic Building that wouldn’t offer full meal service until 2018.
Fahim Rahman, president of the University of Alberta Students’ Union, was pleased the Board of Governors respected students’ concerns about the proposed meal plan. “The flexibility to eat anywhere on campus is important to Lister residents, and we’re glad the Board understood that,” he said. “I've never seen a discussion this contentious before, but at the end of the day, the board realized that meant more work needs to be done.”
University of Alberta president David Turpin has indicated a special board meeting may be held to revise the current proposal.
“We’re excited to sit down with the University administration and work together to create a meal plan everyone can support, and I know students are thrilled to have an opportunity to work collaboratively with the administration to get a better deal,” said Rahman.
The SU is the official body that represents the nearly 30,000 undergraduate students at the University of Alberta. It acts as a strong advocate for students both on campus and at all levels of government.
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