The Arts Undergraduate Society is currently in the process of negotiating its new Memorandum of Agreement with McGill University, which outlines our legal relationship including the activities of AUS SNAX. Since receiving the initial draft of the new MoA in December 2014, we have met with the university’s representative in the negotiations, Vilma Campbell, on January 28 and February 26, 2015.
Initially, the University outlined several concerns around the operations of SNAX, including questions of liability, competition, and good faith/enforcement. At this point in time, the AUS Executive and SNAX team feel that we have effectively addressed all of these issues, for example through added health and safety training for all SNAX employees. McGill Food Services has also indicated that they do not view SNAX sandwiches as a significant form of competition with their retail operations in the Arts-Leacock complex or elsewhere on-campus.
The University has now outlined a hard-line policy against the “expansion” of student-run food services such as AUS SNAX, the EUS G-Store and MUS Dave’s Store, based on the argument that concessions to one group will open the door to others making similar requests. They have consistently stated that the AUS is “lucky” to have held on to SNAX for as long as we have, raising the fear of losing this space altogether in order to push us to sign an agreement.
The AUS Executive would like to express our disappointment with the University’s stance on sandwiches at SNAX and their continued intransigence in negotiations. We strongly believe that allowing SNAX to sell these products is an important service for students, particularly those who struggle to find affordable vegetarian and vegan options elsewhere on-campus. Our goal is not an “expansion” of our operations, but simply a return to the “status quo” of selling sandwiches to our students.
We would like to invite concerned students and community members to submit their comments on this issue directly to the Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) at firstname.lastname@example.org.