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Perspectives April 22, 2004

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Loyalty should buy Cafe 101 a chance at survival

As everyone on campus now knows, Cleveland State University has chosen not to renew Café 101’s contract for the upcoming school year.

The university’s decision has reaped more controversy and conviction on this campus than anything in years, garnering the attention of students, campus media, local media, and there are even rumors that “60 Minutes” will be at Cleveland State this month to investigate the situation for themselves.

The issue has inspired some students to petition, some to boycott (well, threaten to, at least) and others to even stay after class to protest the university’s decision.

They must serve a hell of a sandwich down there.

Many students are mad though, that CSU’s one and only non-university-funded food facility is being yanked away, leaving them with the monopoly that is Aramark.

And those students are right.

Café 101 owner and CSU alumnus Sam McNulty has been speaking out about the issue all over campus, and he’s speaking loudly.

Petitions to “Save Café 101” have been posted all over the university, McNulty has given his side in The Cauldron, and now he is telling the story in this issue of The Cleveland Stater.

The most common complaint voiced by Café 101 supporters is that without an on-campus alternative, people will be forced to eat Aramark-approved food at the Aramark-approved price.

Some also have the opinion that CSU has turned its back on one of its own alums. So what does the university say to defend its decision?

Not much till this point.

In this issue of the Stater, Brian Johnston, director of marketing and public affairs at CSU offers an explanation to the university’s decision to end its relationship with Café 101.

And it’s all about business, baby.

Although the university could issue a request for proposals and give Café 101 a shot, it doesn’t have to. And it’s not going to.

The university does have valid reasons.

The next two years will bring an end to the UC that we all know and love … well, know, anyway. If all goes as planned, by 2006 there will be no more basement hang out in the UC. There very well may not be a UC, period.

But should the university have given one of its only successful tenants in the past decade a premature push out the door?

No matter the bottom-line, Café 101 deserved a chance to bid, be it a competitive one or not. After eight years of popularity on campus and a successful partnership with CSU, Café 101 should have had that shot.

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