Duke Student Government addressed the strong student response to the potential change in the Divinity School Refectory ownership at their final meeting of the academic year Tuesday.
The body unanimously approved a resolution to include student input on the decision regarding the Refectory’s ownership following the University’s decision to postpone renewing the eatery’s contract. The resolution states that students would rather pay higher prices for food at the Refectory and have it remain under its current ownership, by Bon Vivant Catering, than have Duke Dining take over the restaurant. The student body will vote to approve the resolution.
“The feedback that I have been getting is that students would rather have the refectory managed by local ownership and have higher fees than not have local ownership and have lower fees,” said President Pete Schork, a senior.
The Refectory was asked to pay a higher commission because of the Duke Dining deficit, Schork said. Refectory owner Laura Hall has yet to approve a contract that would include the higher commission because it would require her to make sacrifices she is unwilling to make, such as buying fewer fresh ingredients, he said.
Junior Alex Swain, DSG president-elect and current vice president of Durham and regional affairs, noted a problem with this resolution because it asks students to support one eatery that is affected by the commission change and none of the others. The popularity of the Refectory among the student body, however, encouraged DSG to seek student input.
“If you look at the resolution and are in favor of an exception [to the increased commission] you have to make an argument about the Refectory being environmentally sustainable,” Schork said. “This argument could be applied to the Loop, but they are not going through the same kind of cost-effective expenses as the Refectory.”
In other business:
The Senate unanimously approved a budgetary stature that would provide DSG with $4,000 for supplies that could be used for future tailgating alternatives.
“It would be necessary to secure some funds in case we need to purchase stuff for the first tailgate on Sept. 1,” Swain said. “This is just paying for capital expenditures that would be used for every tailgate.”
The Senate also swore in its new leadership, including members of the Senate, cabinet and vice presidents.
Schork also delivered his end-of-year speech to the Senate.
“I feel we’ve come a very long way,” he said. “At the end of the day, I really believe in this organization... and I encourage [the Senate] to continue carrying the torch and make that impact.”