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DSU backs down over food fight

Student Union bends to group opposing food service contracts

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The stage was set for a clash with campus security when members of a group opposed to the exclusive contracts held by food service providers on Dalhousie University's campus set up shop in the university's Student Union Building Tuesday.

But in a surprise turn of events, the Dalhousie Student Union brought a peace offering instead.

DSU President Shannon Zimmerman and Doyle Bond, Vice-President of Finance and Operations, hand delivered a memo to members of Campus Action on Food, offering a conditional truce to the group they had threatened to boot from the building three weeks earlier.

The group, an arms-length affiliate of the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group, argues the food service monopoly deprives students of important alternatives.

Tuesday's event, held shortly after noon, was CAF's third free meal serving held to protest and raise awareness of the issue.

At the Jan. 12 event, Zimmerman told CAF members that security would be called to kick them out of the SUB if they held another give-away. The events violate Sodexho's exclusive right to serve in the building, while the health and safety concerns about the food pose a potential legal problem, she said.

According to the DSU's memo, "CAF will be permitted to provide its services in the DSU on a weekly trial basis between now and April 30, 2010," if they follow three conditions.

These terms require them to:

  • become a ratified society with the DSU
  • have their food inspected to ensure it follows health codes
  • stop handing out “propaganda … that potentially damages the reputation and business of any service providers that the DSU currently has relations with.”

CAF spokesman Aaron Beale said the group has yet to decide whether they will accept the terms.

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