SA president ousts Dining Services head

Student Association President Phil Meisner asked Dining Services Commission Director Chris Voss to step down from his position last week, citing a lack of communication and ineffective advocacy in the DSC.

The Dining Services Commission was incredibly effective at dishing out funds from their co-sponsorship fund, but missed the point of advocating for students about issues in J Street, Thurston Dining Hall, HOVA or Ames Hall, Meisner said, according to a Student Association press release issued Sunday.

The Dining Services Commission, which handles student concerns regarding dining issues and works to implement reform in food services, was largely unresponsive to student concerns under the past leadership, according to the SA press release.

Voss said the call for his resignation came as a surprise. He said he received an e-mail from Steven Mandelbaum, chief operating officer of the SA, questioning some of his actions at the beginning of the week.

It really kind of shocked me because in the last two years of the Commission, we’ve made significant headway, Voss said.

Voss cited the switch from a meals system to an all-points system and the opening of new stations in J Street.

Mandelbaum declined comment.

Issues arose when officials tried to contact the commission about these issues, and they could not find a way to reach them, according to the SA press release.

Voss said he had a mailbox in the SA office and his e-mail and telephone information was available to anyone who wanted to contact the commission.

The SA cited a Family Weekend event involving the DSC as an example of the DSC’s faults.

The commission was even unable to address an issue about a-la-carte items in Thurston at a recent Parents’ Advisory Council meeting last weekend, Meisner said, according to the SA press release.

Voss said all parent questions were answered.

No senator has come to me with any concerns this year, he said. I find the allegations of being ineffective in student advocacy to be unfounded.

Some members of the DSC also questioned the decision to terminate Voss.

It doesn’t make any sense, said Layla El-Wafi, a second-year member of the DSC. The effectiveness of the commission will be greatly impacted.

El-Wafi said she and other members of the commission are considering resigning their posts.

This is a step in the wrong direction, said Kelly Snyder, also in her second year with the DSC. Chris was so active in getting all of the new concepts.

Anthony Rizzuto will replace Voss as the DSC director. He said the DSC will listen more closely to student concerns and implement specific programs to effect change.

The challenge that I have is to reinvent and inspire the commission to be more proactive and responsive to students, he said.

Rizzuto spent the spring semester of last year on the DSC and the fall semester on the Alcohol Request Review Committee.

We need a new type of Dining Services Commission with a very different focus, Meisner said, according to the press release.

The SA officially will appoint Rizzuto at Tuesday’s Senate meeting.

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