Molloy College decided to part ways with its food vendor last week after students voiced concerns about the school’s quality of food, but has expanded its food offerings as it looks for a new one.
“We’ve decided to end this relationship by mutual agreement,” Molloy spokesman Ken Young said of the school’s contract with Compass USA, the vendor that was preparing food on the Rockville Centre campus, after students became “very vocal and very passionate” last week about food quality.
Anne Collins, president of Molloy’s student government, said she began receiving text messages and pictures from students on Sept. 24. One message mentioned undercooked chicken, she said, and other students noted seeing insects in their dishes.
A spokeswoman for Chartwells, a food vendor now owned by Compass USA, said the company has provided “quality services” to Molloy’s students and staff for 14 years.
“We regret that Chartwells will no longer be the dining services vendor at Molloy College,” spokeswoman Meredith Bracken wrote to the Herald in an email. “In the spirit of cooperation, we are working with the college on its transition to a new service provider.”
Collins, 20, a senior nursing major, said she immediately passed along the concerns to the vice president of student affairs.
“I think that the school reacted remarkably in that it was so quick,” she told the Herald. “The turn-around happened in a matter of days. We were out with one vendor and we’re transitioning to the next.”
Molloy closed both of its main cafeterias at the end of last month. Nassau County’s Department of Health was reportedly investigating the complaints. The department did not return the Herald’s phone call.
“We are not aware of any health department investigation citing any violations of health standards or required closure,” Bracken said, adding that Chartwells remained on campus operating the Subway and Starbucks on campus. That ended on Oct. 5, Young said.
Though Molloy officials are still working to acquire a new vendor, Young said, the college has been offering alternative food options to its roughly 4,900 undergraduate and graduate students.
The school invited food trucks onto campus this week, which were available to all students, and those with meal plans are given vouchers to purchase food. On the afternoon on Oct. 3, students waited on line to try an array of dishes, from souvlaki platters to paninis.
Molloy also provided catering to the 285 students living in the campus’s two residence halls from local eateries, including Front Street Pizza, Panera Bread, Ferring Deli in Baldwin, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Long Island Bagel Café.
Kasey’s Kitchen in Rockville Centre was slated to cater for all students last weekend, Collins said, adding that the local eatery would be accepting meal plan vouchers.
“They’re taking advantage of what there is now,” Young said of the students, “but they’re also looking forward to what may come next.”
Collins said though she personally had never had a problem with the quality of food during her three-plus years eating on campus, the school has done a good job addressing concerns by others. Students she has spoken to, she added, have expressed gratitude for the new food choices as a new vendor is chosen.
“I think they really are just excited to see what they have to offer, and to have good quality food,” Collins said of her classmates. “Hopefully we’ll have a quick turn-around with that, and it looks like we will.”