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Eastern Michigan moves to privatize food services

Eastern Michigan University is considering privatizing its dining services after deciding to open a formal RFP for food-service vendors as part of a move that could bring millions of dollars of food-service investment to campus facilities.

In a statement to students and staff, Eastern Michigan University’s interim president, Don Loppnow, stated that partnering with an outside vendor would bring the campus enough funding to significantly expand and upgrade dining facilities while maintaining high quality food offerings and services. Without the change, he says, such an investment would not be possible.

According to a report from Michigan Radio, EMU’s Board of Regents will consider the proposal, which is said to also include food trucks and a campus farmers market, at a meeting later this month. Despite the changeover, the university has stated that current food-service workers would remain employees of the university.

The proposed move to a food-service vendor has been met with skepticism from a group of students, faculty and food-service employees who have motioned for the university to reconsider the move.

Outsourcing food food service would bring EMU in line with a majority of US institutions, and is seen as way for the university to better focus on its core mission. “It is important to note that Eastern’s overarching institutional priority is to provide our students with a solid educational and research experience,” the university’s statement read. “While our current food services operation and employees do an excellent job, food services is simply not the university’s core mission. Educating students is.”

Here’s Eastern Michigan’s full Request for Proposals document.

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