Volume 96, Issue 12
Wednesday September 18, 2002

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Meal card expansion?
USC and Western negotiate

By Chris Webden
Gazette Staff

It looks like the wish of many students may soon come true, as the University Students' Council and Western administration begin negotiating the possibility of allowing the Western 1 meal card to be used at The Spoke and The Wave.

"We hope to see the Western 1 meal plan offered in The Wave and The Spoke by Jan. 1, 2003," said USC President Chris Sinal.

According to Sinal, offering meal plan service at The Wave and The Spoke, two USC operated establishments, has been a concern of students for many years, adding it was a priority of this year's USC board of directors.

Currently, the USC and Western's Hospitality and Food Services are negotiating the specifics of a contract between the two groups. The agreement could allow students to use their meal cards at The Wave and The Spoke, with a portion of the revenue going to Food Services.

Food Services director Frank Miller said the possibility of meal cards being allowed in USC-run restaurants looks hopeful, but noted he would like to see them used in The Wave more than The Spoke.

"[Food Services] would like to see the cards used in an establishment that focuses mainly on providing food, not alcohol," Miller said, adding he did not want students to spend their meal card money on alcohol.

In contrast, Dan Smith, manager of USC bars and restaurants, said he felt it was understood that students would not be able to buy alcohol with their cards, adding he would only agree to a contract which allowed meal cards to be used at both establishments.

"As long as the contract is a good business opportunity for both operations, I have no problem allowing meal cards," Smith said, adding it would provide an important service for students.

According to Sinal, the negotiations, which began earlier in the summer, come after a long history of tension between the two groups.

"I have actively pursued this issue since I began working here, but this is the first time we have made any progress," Smith said, who has been working for the USC for over 18 months.

According to Western VP-administration Peter Mercer, the current discussions arose because the USC approached the administration with a solid plan.

"It is always desirable if you can effect a good relationship between two different groups on campus," Mercer said, adding the idea is one of convenience and efficiency for everyone involved, including Western students.

Around Western, students seemed to feel that accepting meal cards at The Spoke and The Wave is a great idea.

"I would use it all the time," said Sandra Pitts, a second-year history student.

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2002 THE GAZETTE