An open letter to President Link and her cabinet

To the President and the President’s Cabinet,
It has recently come to the attention of the Coalition for Labor that Allegheny College is considering new contracts for dining service providers on campus. This process has been conducted without the knowledge of the student body, and we have many concerns and questions as to how it is being handled.
Allegheny College is dedicated to sustainable practices, especially by achieving carbon neutral status in 2020. How will a new company affect our sustainability efforts? Will they commit to sourcing local food? Has Kelly Boulton, the Director of Sustainability, been consulted?
Do any of the companies being considered provide their services to prisons? We are aware that some companies that use prison labor to prepare and package food do not directly use that labor for the specific good services provided to college campuses. However, such companies are still using prison labor as part of their larger business model. If Allegheny is planning to work with a company engaged in these practices, it would constitute a violation of the College’s values and warrant an explanation. Will automation be introduced on campus in a way that will alienate the dining hall workers from students and weaken our sense of community?
Has the Campus Life and Community Standards Committee been involved? This is well within their purview to consider “matters related to the residential college experience,” and they have worked on dining services in the past.
We are aware that a few representatives of Allegheny Student Government have been consulted. Why has the administration not sought input from the student body more broadly about its values, preferences and concerns? How will a potential new company respect the workers on campus and make sure they are supported? The workers are an incredibly important part of our community and it is crucial that we make sure their needs are met.
What is the timeline of this process? When will a decision be made?
We, the students of Allegheny College, are incredibly disappointed with the lack of transparency shown in this process. There are many groups and relevant parties that should be able to affect this decision, and it is unclear to the extent that anyone has been consulted. Dining hall services play a huge role in shaping our community and we deserve to be informed and to provide input. It is not in the tradition of Allegheny College to make decisions behind closed doors, but this process has troubling implications for the future of community decision making. In light of these concerns, we believe it is your responsibility to provide a public response to our questions.
The Coalition for Labor