Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Controversy in the cafeteria

Recently, a controversy of growing proportions has overtaken the John D. MacArthur campus. It’s hard to find a residential student who hasn’t heard about the independent website www.faufood.com, and it’s even harder to find a student who doesn’t have a strong opinion about the MacArthur cafeteria or the website itself. The website was allegedly posted by the parent of a residential student and showed what are being referred to as disturbing pictures of the cafeteria taken at 7:45 a.m. on the morning of Monday, October 6. The pictures showed unclean conditions on the griddle and serving surfaces, under the tables and in the sundae and coffee sections of the cafeteria.

“At the time, there were issues which were not addressed by my staff,” said Quentin Schweiger, director of Dining Services for the MacArthur campus. “A large portion of the problem was the result of a lack of effort on the part of my employees.”

While Schweiger offered no excuses for the unsanitary conditions, he offered many assurances that the issue has been thoroughly addressed.

“The conditions cited on the website are unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” he said. “Employees will be held accountable; I will be more thorough and strict. In the past two weeks, every part of this cafeteria was inspected and serviced.” Schweiger called the conditions on October 6 an “isolated incident,” adding that a recent health inspection cited no health violations.

Vice President of the MacArthur campus Dr. Kristen Murtaugh’s email address was listed as a link on the www.faufood.com website. Murtaugh said her initial reaction to the posting of the site was one of surprise and disappointment. She said that she has met with Chartwells, the catering company that serves FAU, and that she is very satisfied with their response.

She added that her “primary concern is for the health and well-being of the students.” She also said that the sanitation issues cited on www.faufood.com have been corrected to her satisfaction.

Despite the fact that the main criticism by the website is directed at the physical cleanliness of the cafeteria, there has been a strong reaction to the creation of www.faufood.com itself.

While Murtaugh did not refute the validity of the pictures presented on the site, she said that the creation of the website “was disrespectful and not appropriate at all.” She also said that there were other, more appropriate avenues that could have been taken to express these concerns.

This is a sentiment reiterated by Student Government Vice President Brent Dell. “Student Government is there to serve the students and would have followed on up on any concern brought to their attention,” he said. Dell, former governor of the MacArthur Campus, said that the food services offered now are greatly improved from those of past years.

While the pictures posted on the website clearly give a very unsanitary view of the cafeteria, there are many students that remain positive about the services offered in the Dining Hall.

Freshman Mathew Carter said, “The cafeteria does as good a job providing a variety of options and still ensuring the quality of the food. Any misgivings about the food are greatly overwhelmed by the friendly service of cafeteria staff.”

Sophomore Katie Glatthorn added, “The food is fair, but I never have trouble finding something to eat.” While she admitted that the website made her more aware of conditions in the cafeteria, she said, “Those captions were designed to distort the truth, and this was a simply ridiculous way for someone to express their concerns.”

Both Murtaugh and Schweiger pointed to the cafeteria’s comment cards as a better mode of expression, but one student is greatly dismayed as to the way comment cards are handled by the cafeteria’s current management.

“While comment cards used to provide a forum for student concerns about the dining hall, the responses to student comments posted on the board have become deeply sarcastic and rude,” said senior Sara Fairbrother.

Despite Fairbrother’s concerns, some students point to the widened selection of tofu and juices as evidence of the positive response from cafeteria management to student requests and suggestions.

The UP attempted to reach the creators of www.faufood.com, but no one affiliated with the website was available for comment.

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