Will York Ever Get a Cafeteria?

Why hasn’t there been any talk about opening a new cafeteria, especially with the generous amount of donated money that has been coming in this semester alone?

York’s cafeteria has been closed since before the pandemic. It would take millions to fix, according to President Eanes. | Photo by Niko Balkaran

Update: Interim Vice President of Finance and Administration, Charles Bozian announced at the Senate Plenary on Dec. 13 that he will be forming a committee with representatives from students, faculty and staff to work together and get a request for proposals out in the Spring ’23 semester. He continued that the cafeteria should be reopened in September, provided that they get responses and an economically viable bidder.

By Alejandra Hernandez

 York College has lacked a cafeteria even before the pandemic. The cafeteria was closed in Sept. 2019 after health inspectors found mice and parasitic insects. Health Department records said inspectors found 51 violations in the cafeteria for mice, vermin, poor plumbing and foods at unsafe temperatures and left unsafe from contamination.

Pandora’s Box covered this issue about York’s cafeteria back in Oct. 2019, where it was said that “the cafeteria had been closed since June due to a lack of contract between Aladdin Food Services, York’s main food supplier, and the York College Auxiliary Enterprises.” 

But from the pandemic’s shutdown to today, there seems to have been enough time for York to have thought about a way to offer its students healthier and a good variety of food options.

And although for a very short time, there was a food truck in front of the college, many students heard about them when it was too late. This semester, the Interim Vice President of Finance and Administration, Charles Bozian, said there would be a food truck on campus two days a week to help alleviate the college’s food woes during the first Senate Plenary. He also promised to extend it to more days should it prove popular. But the schedule of the food truck was erratic at best.

Many students complain about the lack of food options there is at hand. And the options around campus are unhealthy, not to mention how unsafe the neighborhood has become. It becomes very inconvenient for some students.

Even with the Cardinal Cafe and the newly introduced individual pizzas, there are few food options. Moreover, since the options are the same weekly, the rotation from meal to meal can become repetitive. 

York’s president and her staff should be more aware of the services many students are in need of. Having a decent cafeteria is not something students should be worrying about, especially since a good amount of CUNY students pay out-of-pocket for various campus services. It is only natural for a senior CUNY college to have a cafeteria.

In a different Pandora’s Box story mentioning plans for the cafeteria, Bozian said “that a food court would possibly be built in an as-of-yet incompletely funded building.” 

It seems that York’s students’ eating is contingent on the construction of a new building. It’s outrageous to think about putting a food court in a building that has not been officially approved.

At the State of the College address in Oct., President Eanes said that the cafeteria was in “need of millions of dollars of renovations before anyone would be able to come and be a cafeteria vendor.” 

The college now has a “7.5 million transformational gift” plus more than 100 thousand because of Giving Tuesday. 

The lack of students enrolling at York College might have to do with the very limited services offered, not to mention the lack of concern shown by academic resources offices. Many students have voiced dissatisfaction with many things in the York Cardinal app. Many also post questions that offices should have answered. 

York College has been lacking accountability and transparency. Requests for interviews or even answers to simple questions take days for a response if there is a response at all. In the president’s cabinet, the head of communications for what is a public college gets paid $213,000 a year from taxpayers. But then students have to wait ten days for them to take ten minutes to speak with a reporter from the college newspaper?”

Could it be that York College students have to protest like students at Hostos Community College to get some acknowledgment? The better question would be, would a protest really change anything?

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