Come fall 2018, all students living in University of Wisconsin residence halls will have to choose a meal plan with a minimum of $1,400.
The meal plan will be billed on a quarterly basis and is available in three, each estimating different numbers of meals per week. The number of meals per week range for 9 to 20, director of Dining and Culinary services Peter Testory, said.
Funds not used in the school year will be forfeited, Testory said. This is done to ensure students are using their funds which will help maintain affordable dining options.
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The plan allows financial aid funds to cover the cost of food and also allows students and families to budget food costs for the school year, Testory said.
“We did receive a good amount of feedback for us to even start to look at this ,” Testory said.
Although Testory said the meal plan was developed with Associated Students of Madison, a press release from ASM condemns this plan due to its lack of regard for students who have dietary restrictions due to religious, financial or health reasons.
This new policy may also force students to live off campus, reducing campus accessibility, the press release said.
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“ASM’s Shared Governance Committee, which is fully comprised of students, clearly expressed discontent to Jeff Novak, Director of Housing and Dining, for mandatory meal plans,” the press release said. “At the time of Novak’s presentation [to ASM], the idea for mandatory meal plan was not advertised to the Committee as a serious option considered by Housing and Dining.”
In regards to students who have dietary restrictions, Testory said the university started offering halal options this year but it wasn’t as advertised because they’re still figuring out some details. Kosher options are currently available in grab-and-go options.
The university is required to accommodate students with allergies, Testory said. Dining services has a dietitian that works with around 600 students per year with allergies.
In response to the backlash dining is facing regarding this policy, Testory said dining services will continue to work with students, parents and ASM.