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Rutgers, Student Activists Compromise on Meal Policy

Rutgers University has reached a compromise with a local activist and alumnus on a meal donation program the school initially halted because of food safety concerns. The Operation Robin Hood initiative asked students to purchase take-out meals for needy local residents by using a second meal card swipe when they purchased a meal for themselves at one of the university’s dining halls.

In response, Rutgers Dining changed its policy of allowing more than one takeout meal to be purchased with multiple meal card swipes at a single meal occasion. The university said it was concerned that the meals being purchased in this way, which were held and slated for transport to a local soup kitchen, would pose food safety issues. The practice also threatened to compromise the economics of the meal plan program by increasing the number of meals purchased relative to the projections on which pricing was based.

Under the compromise worked out between Rutgers and Operation Robin Hood founder Charles Kratovil, the two-take-out-swipes-at-a-time policy would be reinstated, but students would also have the option of donating the cash equivalent of a guest swipe to the local Elijah’s Promise soup kitchen (which can't take meals prepared at a separate location anyway). Also, a student/administrator committee would be formed to study dining service policies would be formed. Meanwhile, Kratovil and his group agreed to stop soliciting for their program on the campus, which violates Rutgers policy.

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