The University of Kentucky's consideration of a public-private partnership for dining services got attention from two fronts during Monday's meeting.
The UK Board of Trustees meeting began with a student protest. The protesters asked the board to reject any and all proposals to privatize public dining services at the school. Their primary concern is with one potential vendor, the Sodexo Group. The students say Sodexo cited the Affordable Care Act as a reason to cut off full-time benefits for some of its employees at another school.
Later in the meeting, Trustee Jo Curris stood to register her concerns. She told fellow board members any private firm would want to recover upfront investments. "Let us not be naïve," said Curris. "No one should think that any anticipated premium is a charitable donation." Curris said there's no such thing as a free lunch and the trustees should not "hide their heads in the sand" about an external vendor's corporate purpose.
Chairman Britt Brockman told the trustees that President Eli Capilouto has kept the board well-informed during the process of partially privatizing housing construction. "If you recall, it was 30 days between the time when we approved the concept , the first concept and we had the first RFP out from the building," said Brockman. "So this process has been a lot more than 30 days and I can't imagine that the president won't educate us on this as well."
The UK administration has not yet made a decision about a public private partnership for dining services.