Metz contract could require freshmen to sign two-year meal plan agreement

Florida A&M’s decision to hire Metz Culinary Management may leave freshmen with more than they bargained for.

The board of trustees met to discuss its new contract with the food provider Monday.

According to Student Body President Anthony Siders, the BOT voted 6 to 5 in favor of Metz as the new food service provider for the university.

“I did not vote for it for several reasons,” Siders said. “Metz only represents about 11 to 13 institutions. The largest academic intuition is up north in Pennsylvania.”

The lack of representation is not the only thing unsettling about the company. Siders said the decrease in enrollment at FAMU created a breach of contract with Sodexo, which cost the university $36,000 a week. To prevent this from happening with Metz, the university has mandated that every new freshmen sign a two-year agreement to live on campus with a meal plan.

Some fear the new contract with Metz could eventually lead to a mandate forcing all students to pay for meal plans if enrollment continues to decrease, even if they commute to campus.

Victoria Davy, a senior actuarial science student from Miami, said she refuses to pay for a meal plan if the university continues its contract with Metz.

“The trustees should have taken the students into consideration before entering this contact,” Davy said. “If enrollment drops again, the university could end up in another breach of contract, and I will not suffer because of their lack of planning.”

Teri Watson, a fourth-year architecture student from Houston, said the BOT made an all-around bad choice.

“The trustees clearly voted on a food provider that is not for the students or for bettering the university,” Watson said. “We are supposed to be moving forward to bigger things, and to me, Metz will hinder that.”

Siders added that the largest institution Metz caters to has less than 3,000 students, and the university could possibly serve as a trial and error for the company.

“In my opinion, I feel Florida A&M is serving as a test dummy as an expansion in the south,” Siders said.

He said the second company chosen for food service, Aramark Higher Education, had better opportunities for the university.

Unlike Metz, Aramark planned to offer around a million dollars in scholarships to students and about $3 million toward facility enhancements and capital improvement for the university.
Siders said the university would enter into a $90 million contract with Metz for five years.

During a conference call, Siders said he was concerned with the lack of opportunities Metz provides to students at the university.

He said Aramark has access to more popular food chains such as Chick-fil-A and Moe’s, and prior to gaining the contract with FAMU, Metz did not provide food services to any other institutions in Florida.

Siders said he is unaware if there is a way to appeal this decision made by the board. However, he will continue to sit down and meet with Metz representative to discuss future plans that will include opportunities for the student body.