Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Editorial: Employee complaints deserve College’s attention

<st Friday, The Carletonian published the resignation letter that Eloise Quinnell, former cashier and card-swiper at the East Dining Center, had sent to Hudlin Wagner, Dean of Students. Quinnell was a familiar face around the Carleton dining halls, and she will be missed. For the past seven years, Carleton students had the good fortune to be greeted by Quinnell’s smiling face at mealtimes – it was, for some, something close to home. Quinnell’s departure is regrettable, but it also opens up the possibility for discussion between the Bon Appétit management and the rest of the Carleton community that suddenly appears very necessary.

Change is difficult. There is no denying this. The transition from Sodexho last year to Bon Appétit this year was not expected to be an easy process, especially for the many Dining Services employees who had to go through the process of rehiring. But Bon Appétit has been at Carleton now for nearly half of a year and yet problems persist. Quinnell’s departure is just one public indication of this.

The article published in today’s issue of The Carletonian, as well as a similar feature in The Carl, is another sign that all is not right with Bon Appétit. Employees are upset for a number of reasons, the least of which is a continuing unfamiliarity with new policies. According to employees who have come forward to protest the Bon Appétit management, promises that were made when Bon Appétit arrived are not being kept, hours are being cut, and there are other problems lurking beneath the surface.

Carleton has moved forward with Campus Climate workshops this past week in the first step toward addressing some of the more challenging problems uncovered by the Campus Climate survey held last year. While issues facing students such as problems inside the classroom are important ones, the student body also needs to give their attention to that part of the Carleton community that most urgently needs their help: the Dining Services staff. These people are part of the community just as anyone else, and they are clearly having a difficult time.

It has been a while since Carleton students have had cause to actively protest an issue on campus. But now, the Dining Services staff needs their help. If promises are not being kept, and employees are being unfairly treated, students need to step up to make sure those employees are being heard and they get what they deserve. Of course, the first step in this situation is to ensure that all sides are being heard, and that everyone has the chance to tell their side of the story. From there, the community needs to have an open discussion about why certain policies were being enacted, and what viable alternatives are. Otherwise, Carleton might be seeing more letters in the paper like that from Elouise Quinnell.

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