The Dining Dilemma: Students Express Health Concerns Over Atterbury Dining Hall

A student notices that their meat is undercooked after cutting it open

Akash Guruswamy, Writer

  Undesirable hours aren’t the only thing plaguing UMKC’s Atterbury Dining Hall. From undercooked entrees to insect-laced salads, students have voiced their concerns about food quality. 

  “My classmates and I have begun dreading eating, but we feel we must eat at the dining hall since we were forced to purchase the meal plan and would otherwise be wasting our money,” said freshman Julia Holmgren.

  Freshmen who reside at UMKC Oak Street and Johnson Halls are required to purchase a meal plan as part of their housing contract. For a block 320 dining plan, a residential life student pays on average $10.60 per meal swipe. Plans range between $1900 to $2000 with no option to opt-out and no refund for unused swipes.  

“The odd hours and low food quality make it to where it is more of an inconvenience to eat, and I don’t ever end up using all my swipes,” said freshman Teagan Gaither. Atterbury dining hall is the last dining option to close and normally shuts its doors at 7 p.m. This is problematic for some students because they are still in labs or lectures, meaning no dining options are available after they get out of class.

  UMKC itself doesn’t handle the food service on campus. Rather, it contracts its food service to the Sodexo Group, one of the largest catering companies globally. The Kansas City Health Department last conducted a health inspection at Atterbury in January 2022. In that report, inspectors found no critical violations. 

  “The protocols that are adhered to are consistent to meet the required expectations of the oversight of the health department and our third-party safety audit company,” said Jody Jefferies, director of the Student Union. “On a meal-to-meal basis in the Dining Hall and all retail locations each day, our goal is to meet all applicable food safety and food-handling standards.”

If students continue to see food safety concerns, feedback or suggestions can be shared here.