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Letter: It’s unconscionable that the UND School of Medicine has no food-service options

Despite the input provided by staff and students in designing this state-of-the-art medical school, UND has decided to permanently close Cafe 1905, which, up until spring of 2020, offered students/staff/employees a place to purchase a bite to eat, fresh coffee, light meals and bowls of hot soup. Since then, all that has been available for the thousands of people using this facility are two soda/drink machines. This is unconscionable.

Letter to the editor FSA
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The University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences has dropped the ball. For the more than 1,500 students and 185 academic staff who call “home” this 325,000-square-foot, $124 million, four-story building that opened its doors in August of 2016, it offers nothing in the way of provisions. No food for breakfast, no food for lunch, no food with your coffee. It does not even offer a cup of coffee.

Despite the input provided by staff and students in designing this state-of-the-art medical school, UND has decided to permanently close Cafe 1905, which, up until spring of 2020, offered students/staff/employees a place to purchase a bite to eat, fresh coffee, light meals and bowls of hot soup. Since then, all that has been available for the thousands of people using this facility are two soda/drink machines. This is unconscionable.

There are times in the business world when the all-important dollar should not be the primary force driving all decisions. There are times in the business world when providing a necessary service takes higher precedence.

Perhaps it would not be feasible for the Cafe 1905 to be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., with three full-time staff present; however, what may work might be offering hours of operation from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in order to accommodate the more pressing needs of the students and staff.

It is not feasible to expect people to traipse across campus to the Memorial Union for a bite to eat in the middle of a North Dakota winter, nor is it the responsibility of the gas station next door to provide food for the needs of the students and staff of the medical school.

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When I was a student at UCLA in the early 1980s, I regularly bought food from vending machines: yogurt, sandwiches, chips, hot chocolate. I cannot understand why the UND Dining Services has not been able to provide, at the very least, similar machines during this time of perennial shutdowns.

UND, please explain yourself.

Deborah G. Todhunter, Grand Forks

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