7 staff displaced by closure of UMC cafés find CU jobs


January 11, 2007

By Jefferson Dodge

Silver & Gold Record reporter

Most of the classified staff displaced by the closure of five satellite cafés run by the University Memorial Center at CU-Boulder have accepted other positions on campus.

The five dining establishments that were closed at the end of fall semester because they were losing money are the East End Café in the Administrative and Research Center (ARC) on East Campus, the DNA Café in the MCD Biology Building, Norlin Underground in Norlin Library, The Real McCoy in the Engineering Center and The Board Room, which has served the Leeds School of Business both in the Business Building and in its temporary home in Fleming Law Building. UMC Director Carlos Garcia told S&GR that the five cafés lost a combined total of $143,000 in 2005-06, and that over the past six years, they had lost an average of $123,000 annually.

Garcia said this week that six classified staff employees who worked in the cafés had retention rights and two of the classified staff there did not. In addition, the UMC employed two six-month temporary employees and three student employees who lost their café jobs as a result of the closures. All eight of the classified staff were offered other positions, either at the UMC or in the housing and dining services department, and only one of those employees turned the offer down, Garcia said. The appointments of the six-month temporary employees expired in December, he added, but the three student workers will be able to apply for other job openings at the UMC.

Garcia said it is likely that an outside vendor will be hired to provide dining services at the renovated and expanded Business Building when construction at that facility is completed. He added that UCB housing and dining services will continue to operate Norlin Underground this semester, although the café’s hours and prices may be changed. He said an outside vendor is expected to take the place of The Real McCoy in the Engineering Center, as the UMC has been asked to lease its equipment to a new operator there. Garcia said he is not aware of any plans to replace the dining services in the ARC or the MCD Biology Building.

He added that University of Colorado Student Union leaders have formed a commission to conduct a study this spring on a variety of options for the food services offered at the UMC. That study could result in continuing the UMC’s current management of the dining operations, bringing in more outside vendors, hiring a private company to manage the food services or having UCB housing run those services, Garcia said. Renovating and reconfiguring the layout of the UMC’s food outlets, such as the Alferd Packer Grill, also has been discussed, he said. The UCSU commission is expected to finish its work by March 31. “We don’t know where that will lead,” Garcia said of the study. “But we believe that the UMC still provides the best option, versus a private company coming in.”

Both the new Wolf Law and ATLAS (Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society) buildings contain dining services managed by private vendors — Spruce Confections in Wolf Law and Vic’s in ATLAS. Garcia said the Hearsay Café, which served the School of Law when it was housed in Fleming, was closed when the new building was finished. Sneakers, another UMC satellite café that was based in the Student Recreation Center, was closed a few years ago due to financial losses and new use of the space as an exercise room, Garcia said.