The truth will set you free and the truth is, not everybody wants to eat at Belvin every day.
Many upper-classman returning for the fall semester experienced an unfortunate surprise when they stood in line at Tortilla Fresca for the usual burrito on the expected meal plan, but were only asked for cash, credit, or Bearkat bucks.
Tempers are flaring and now the Student Government Association is waging war for what they say is a violation against students.
“Those who stood in line on Monday were only asked cash, credit, or Bearkat. Those who asked for meal plan were told that Tortilla Fresca was no longer on the meal plan,” SGA president, Ryan Bridges said. “We are working up the food chain to figure out how this gets fixed, and it will be fixed–it’s an issue of when, not if,” he said.
Workers at Tortilla Fresca told SGA they were informed over the summer about the change and thought students were informed at freshman orientation.
The sizzle on that: freshman orientation addresses only a fraction of the entire student body. Those students who didn’t attend and weren’t notified found out about the change the hard way.
“As of Monday there were probably over 50 plus students outside of South Paw angry and upset with the situation because a lot of them had bought meal plans thinking that they could eat at Tortilla Fresca. Now these students are stuck in the situation, “SGA vice president, Lance Weaver said.
The meal plan loss is a heated discussion among frequent Tortilla Fresca fans.
“Everybody is upset. My friend said, “First they took the combo, now they’re taking the meal plan,” SHSU student Tim Heredia said.
SGA’s Kendall Scudder shared his reaction and solution to the surprise situation.
“I’m absolutely livid that they would cut meal plan choices in half without warning. The way I see it they either need to put Tortilla Fresca back on the meal plan or give students the ability to reject their meal plan and receive a refund,” he said.
The loss of Tortilla Fresca also means that Belvin will be the only meal plan option, an inconvenient location for those students on the other side of campus.
“When students bought their meal plan, they were under the impression that they were going to eat Tortilla Fresca. Now these poor kids that live out at Raven, Allen House, and Parkhill have to walk all the way across campus to Belvin three times a day, when they used to think they could walk right across the street,” Scudder said.
While many are raging, other students are more complacent, as one sophomore said she regrets the change but understands the reason.
“The change is sad, but for Tortilla Fresca to work on the meal plan they would have to order things in bulk as Belvin does, but they are on a retail type order system and can’t order as many things. If people were on the meal plan they could only be limited and they’d be losing money.” Leslie Dockery said, “I wouldn’t want them to be losing money, it’s totally understandable, I mean, yea, it sucks but there’s reasons for it; it’s not unjustly done.”
The change may save money, but there remains a potential loss for customers as well.
“Knowing that they were already losing money, they probably won’t lose anymore. Now they will most likely lose customers. I try to save points unless I have to use points, so I’m not going to eat there honestly more than once a month, SHSU student, Michael Marshall said.
Dockery said eating Tortilla Fresca was a daily routine for her for the location, but although she would love to have the meal plan back. She thinks it might not be the best solution.
“In SGA fighting for the meal plan they would have to lay ground for a plan to keep them from losing money. Already our tuition is extremely crazy, so if funding is being pulled out here and there, they’re getting rung,” Leslie Dockery said. “I think if we found a system in which Tortilla Fresca could order on a bulk as Belvin does, then we could get the meal plan, but until then they are continually losing money and I don’t think that’s wise even if we want to eat better.”
Sr. Food Service Director of ARAMARK Higher Education and SH Dining Services, Santel Frazier said the reason why Tortilla Fresca is no longer offering a meal plan option is not because of financial reasons in reaction to what students are saying.
Meanwhile, SGA members argue this change to be a violation against students because of the lack of notification.
“The opportunity to email students and to post about the change on the main website was not taken. SGA is upset because we need to be transparent with students and fight anybody who isn’t. It’s not fair for the students, the people we serve, to be in the dark all the time. They need to know that we are trying our very best to alleviate this issue as fast as possible,”
The Houstonian is currently in communication with Aramark, the official provider of the University’s food services, regarding this situation. Look forward to a follow up and further explaination in future issues.