Quinnipiac Dining introduces new policies in an effort to combat student theft

Quinnipiac University dining is now implementing orange “paid” stickers in an effort to combat student stealing.

“Unfortunately, we have been noticing an increase in the number of students stealing over the past couple of years," Morgan Watson, marketing manager for Quinnipiac Dining said. "Theft has continued to increase and become a prominent issue at our dining facilities."

The new policy, which began on April 2, will help staff to identify drinks that have not been paid for.

"The paid stickers are part of our effort to identify who has paid for their beverage," Watson said.

The cafeteria has experienced a 10 percent shrinkage in inventory due to theft, according to Watson. The stickers are one of a few ways Quinnipiac dining plans to address this issue.

Results out of 200 respondents from survey sent out on HQ Press Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. : (click to scroll)

The university is also considering installing new camera systems in the Mount Carmel and York Hill cafeterias to further monitor stealing, Watson said. The cameras, which are planned to arrive in the fall of 2019, will have a live feed monitored by public safety.

Some students said they believe these new additions will damage the relationship between the university and the student body.

“I feel like that really puts a disconnect between Quinnipiac and the students,” Aryn McClure, a senior at Quinnipiac University, said. “It makes it seem like they can’t trust us and like they’re watching us as we go and eat. I think that just adds more stress to the students knowing that maybe I can’t be comfortable in my own school, in my own environment.”

Some members of the Quinnipiac community suspect that inflated prices are one of the main causes of frequent stealing.

“You can buy this stuff at a store off-campus for half the price that it is here, seriously, it’s crazy,” Christina Lucas, a Chartwells cashier, said. “Every year the prices go up.”

For example, a peanut butter chocolate Gatorade Whey Protein bar at Walmart is currently priced as low as $1.50, however, it is priced at $3.59 in the cafeteria, almost three times more expensive than what it would be at market value.

Cost of peanut butter chocolate Gatorade Whey Protein bar at the Quinnipiac cafeteria versus the cost at Walmart.

Cost of peanut butter chocolate Gatorade Whey Protein bar at the Quinnipiac cafeteria versus the cost at Walmart.

Quinnipiac Dining claims that the high prices on food are no excuse for students to consistently steal.

“The majority of the students who remove unauthorized food and beverage from the dining facilities still have money on their meal plan account,” Watson said.

In addition to steeper prices, some students feel like the cafeteria needs to do a better job decreasing the amount of time that it takes to purchase their food.

“I think students steal so often in the cafeteria based off time,” Chelsea Jones, a senior Quinnipiac student, said. “If you go into the cafeteria around 12 o’clock it’s really packed in there and it’s busy, so you’re not going to wait in line to pay for a juice when you can just take it and keep going about your business.”

Jones said she believes opening more registers will allow for a quicker checkout time and keep students from skipping the lines when they are in a rush.

“They probably need to open up more registers around the times that they know they’re going to be busy,” Jones said. “Not just have one or two registers open around those busy hours, because nobody's going to wait.”

Watson and Quinnipiac Dining understand the student's concerns regarding the wait time and stated that they try to avoid the backlog during peak periods as much as possible.

“Our standard is to have all registers open at peak periods,” Watson said. “However, there are times when we are understaffed at the moment and a register may not be open for a period. We try to avoid closing any registers at peak time if possible.”

Jones also said that she believes providing discounts on certain items toward the end of the semester will keep students from stealing when their meal plan is running low.

“During the times of the school year where students may be lower on meal plan, I definitely think that the prices should drop on drinks,” Jones said. “Water bottles are around $3, that’s unnecessary. If anything it should be at most $2.”

Even with the new sticker policy, as well as the camera system that is on the horizon for next year, it is safe to assume that students will still steal at least in some capacity despite the efforts of the dining staff.

Student responds to the news of the orange paid stickers on Twitter.

Student responds to the news of the orange paid stickers on Twitter.

“They just walk right out. It’s like what can you do? I can’t do anything to these people,” Lucas said.

Moving forward, the university will continue to work with the dining staff to come up with the best solution to the theft dilemma. However, some students say the answer might be easier than many would’ve thought.

“I think (the university) should just trust the students a little bit more,” McClure said. “I do understand they need to make profits, but stealing isn’t OK. They should work with the student body and create resources for them to eat in an affordable way. Just trust Quinnipiac because we are one community.”