News  Residence vending machines to be removed

Machines removed to comply with summer food service audit

In accordance with a review completed over the summer, revenue from vending machines in McGill Residences will no longer help support residence Hall Councils, and some machines have been removed from residences entirely.

Hall Councils are responsible for planning events, fundraisers, and other residence activities for students. The Councils formerly received bimonthly checks from vending machine revenue. The money “wasn’t a lot, but was certainly helpful,” said Clara Lu, former VP Finance of Royal Victoria College. She estimated that last year’s RVC Hall Council, which had a budget of about $4,000 to work with, received a few hundred dollars from vending machines.

Lu also noted that in the last months of the 2009-2010 academic year, the RVC Council received two revenue checks issued to McGill University rather than to the council itself. “Food Services did not question the changing of the recipient,” she added.

Mathieu Laperle, Director of McGill Food and Dining Services (MFDS), said that in a review of services after the start of Aramark’s contract on June 1, MFDS was “surprised to discover that there were some vending machines being operated on campus and in Residences without any official authorization or contract with the University.”

Locations such as Thomson House, the Faculty Club, and the Shatner building are not included in the contract with Aramark, but other than these exemptions, “student associations are not permitted to operate vending machines or food services,” Laperle wrote in an email to The Daily.

In agreement with MFDS’s contract with Aramark, the unauthorized vending machines, which included some of those in McGill residences, were removed. Machines in Gardner Hall were removed, though there are still machines present in RVC, and there has been no mention of their removal, according to RVC President Caelestia Hu. Hu also said that RVC’s Hall Council is looking for a way to make up for the loss.

Laperle stressed that MFDS must be financially sustainable without receiving funds from the University, though later stated that MFDS has “never been involved with where the money [from vending machines] goes.” However, Lu said the RVC council was able to cash the vending machine cheques, received from a company called Distribution Triso, through MFDS this spring.

Aramark now owns the operation of the majority of vending machines on campus, with the exception of a few that are run by other companies, such as Coca-Cola.

—With files from Andra Cernavskis