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Stolen food not insured by meal plans

After claims of additional meal plan surcharges accounting for stolen food, campus dining administrators assert that food stolen from campus eateries is unnacounted for; student meal plans do not compensate for it.

Rumors circulating campus have alleged that an additional $30 charge is added to students’ dining plans to account for stolen food.

“It’s on campus. It’s probably on every college campus. I don’t think we have any more problems than at other universities. But we do catch people daily,” said Rich Maha, the resident district manager for Compass Group, the company that oversees the dining services on campus.

Freshmen Tina DeMaio, an engineering major, and Isabella Gonzalez, a clinical psychology major, have both inquired about meal plans and dining services. Both students have either heard of or seen people stealing food from the dining halls.

When asked about how she heard Hofstra accommodates for stolen food, Gonzalez said, “My friends told me that on the meal plans they charge extra.”

This speculation regarding a cushion charge was denied by the director of Budget and Campus dining, Michael D. Ogazon.

An adjunct professor of Management and Entrepreneurship as well, Ogazon debunked the claims.

“There is absolutely no surcharge built into the pricing.”

Having never heard of such a charge, Ogazon assured that the money students spend on a meal plan goes toward their food credit.

“The university collects the money from the students as part of the room and board contract. We collect all the money up front for the year and then each week we write a check for the vendor based on sales,” Ogazon explained.

He also mentioned that Hofstra does not account for stolen food at all, since tracking these occurrences is too unpredictable. Moreover, the lost product does not greatly influence their sales.

“We just take the hit on it. It’s not a big problem. It’s not like it’s hundreds of dollars,” Ogazon said.

He explained that every retail business has to anticipate the reality that products may, and probably will, be stolen.

“We’re all retail. We’re different from other universities that have a board plan ... where they may have one facility where you have to have so many meals ... and it’s all you care to eat. Or there’s meal exchanges. We don’t have any of that because we’re 100 percent retail,” Maha said.

Yet, for Gonzalez, a commuter, there is another problem at hand which prevents her from enjoying the new campus luxuries.

“I’ve tried some of the new foods. I think they’re fine, but the reason why I don’t eat here that much is because it’s expensive.”

According to Ogazon, increases or decreases in food pricing depend on the annual financial curve.

With a retail increase this year of 1.67 percent and a meal plan increase of 3.3 percent, complaints about pricing is nothing new to Hofstra administrators.

Film major and sophomore Miranda Rausch said, “The prices for food are so high at this school that I don’t blame people for stealing.”

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