ATLANTA — Parents of Spelman College students are concerned after several reports that their dining hall is serving undercooked food.
Complaints about the food served on campus started less than a month into the school year, one mother, Alisha Gordan, noted. Recently, she received pictures of her freshman daughter’s undercooked food from the dining hall.
“Is this a matter of palette? Or is it a matter of really having some challenges of being able to get access to fresh and proper meals,” Gordon said.
A group of Spelman parents expressed their concerns in a letter to the college’s president, Dr. Helene Gayle. The letter included what appeared to be images of undercooked chicken from the dining hall and expired food in a vending machine.
Parents also requested administrators to begin immediate solutions such as conducting listening sessions with students, allowing one mini-fridge for each room in the residence halls, extending hours for the cafeteria, prorating meal plans costs and finding a new food vendor.
Once the college received the letter, Spelman’s Vice President for Student Affairs, Darryl Holloman, invited them to a virtual town hall where they felt the college fell short of addressing their concerns.
“We have and will continue to provide students with a positive health and wellness experience at Spelman College, which includes dining,” says Holloman in a statement.
Meal plans are required for all freshmen, and parents said they pay more than $3,000 dollars for the plan. Another concerned guardian, Tina Hughes, said her granddaughter hasn’t eaten in the Spelman dining hall for at least a month.
“My granddaughter reached out to me to let me know she was very sick to her stomach, and she was pretty sure that she had food poisoning,” Hughes said.
Kiya said while there are other dining options, on-campus students have to pay out of pocket for those meals.
“I probably eat like one meal a day just so I don’t have to spend the extra money and I’ve lost a lot of weight,” Kiya said.
Holloman said supply chain and staffing challenges impacted dining services and parents believe this is an opportunity for Spelman to find a long-term solution.
“The spirit of is that we are trying to ensure that we’re leaving a legacy that no matter who your child is, no matter where they’re from, that they have access to something like good fresh food,” Gordon said.
11Alive contacted Aramark, the college’s food vendor, about parents’ concerns but has not received a reply.