Live: Sodexo Forum with President Nugent and Barry Schwartz

Update: If you missed it earlier, the forum can still be viewed by clicking on the link below and choosing the “On Demand” tab, then clicking “Watch” next to the relevant event.

Starting at 11:30 a.m., watch the forum live by clicking here. President Nugent and Barry Schwartz, chair of Kenyon’s board of trustees, will be answering questions from staff, faculty and students in the Bolton Theater.

Not on campus? Tweet your questions to @KenyonCollege. The Thrill will also be live-Tweeting the forum @TheKenyonThrill. Join the conversation with the hashtag #kenyonsodexo.

25 responses

  1. So, President Nugent has never met the woman who cleans her office. And, no, they don’t clean at night anymore — it was too expensive.

  2. Does anybody know where to find budget data? I’m wondering what percentage of the maintenance budget the potential savings represent. And comparison of that with recent cuts in other areas of Kenyon’s budget.

    • Yeah that would be some valuable information. I wish the F.O.I.A. was applicable at Kenyon too.

  3. What became semi-clear at today’s forum is that the contract with Sodexo has not been signed — Mr. Schwartz referred to ongoing negotiations over final wording. So this is not, in fact, a “done deal” as has been reported. And since Kenyon is hiring Sodexo, and not the other way around, the timing of that contract signing should be of Kenyon’s choice, not Sodexo’s. So, point one, I urge the administration NOT to sign that contract until AFTER next Friday’s public forum with Mark Kohlman. This issue should be aired more fully, and the details of that contract should be made public, because the shape of that contract will affect all of us.

    Second point: the administration is clearly seeking to hand off the “problem” of dealing with the unions to a third party. In the past, when the college has dealt with the unions (in the most recent case, several years ago, by locking them out and refusing to negotiate) the community had an opportunity to make its opinions known and felt — in an up-close and personal way, within our community. (And, by the way, to positive effect.) If union relations are given over to Sodexo, we will have no such opportunity — what are we going to do, march to France? Nor will the college be truly able to influence future negotiations. That is a loss of control, with unforeseen consequences for our college and our community. Sodexo is a huge company; Kenyon will be a very small client of theirs. Sodexo will serve Sodexo first, Kenyon next, and the community not at all.

    While I agree in principle with Georgia that management decisions need to be made by management, a decision with such implications as this one should be considered by everyone, with careful thought given to the possibility of unintended consequences down the road. The administration should listen carefully to the rising chorus of dissent on this issue, and be willing to reconsider their still-unsigned decision.

  4. I would like to know how the thought process went on how to deliver this message. In my opinion there were two options. A- Tell them and then everyone leave the state. In nugent’s case the country. Or B- Tell them and be readily available to answer questions,suggestions and comments. They chose A which was a dispicable option. This seems to be the thought process through this whole deal. We need real leaders.

  5. Click on the tab that says ON DEMAND….you will see it on the right side. Click on WATCH and then you have to scroll down to the video screen and hit WATCH again. You will want to fast forward just a bit to skip the crowd gathering and listen to the Q&A.

  6. Can we also just talk about Cuba for a second? Why was she there? Isn’t it illegal to go there from the US?

    • She was there as part of an alumni trip. The timing of the trip is open to (extremely serious) scrutiny, but it is now legal to travel to Cuba as long as it’s done through a licensed operator, which this surely was.

  7. Wait a minute! First Georgia says that the TRE will be there for current Kenyon employees. One worker asked her what can she tell her daughter when she gets home (a current Kenyon UNION employee) about attending college using the TRE after the contract expires and Georgia did not confirm that she would keep the TRE benifit being a current employee. All she said was that she cannot predict the future of what will happen when the contract expires. If she is a current employee now, she should not be worried, right!? Or is this double speak???

  8. For me the most telling moment in the meeting came when a member of the audience asked why, if the financial situation at Kenyon is so dire, we were not all told so that we might offer shared sacrifices. He replied that Kenyon is not currently in an economic emergency. It strikes me that outsourcing jobs at Kenyon is not something that they reluctantly want to do but instead is something they very much wish to do to avoid dealing with unions and collective bargaining. The current economic crisis provides a perfect opportunity but in the end the economy will end and we will be left with Sodexo and they they will gobble up more and more of the jobs.

    • After all the talk about finances and cost containment the last few days, it’s becoming very clear that this is only about the unions. I guess it should have been clear in that the Sodexo plan was first introduced in the context of what was supposed to be a union negotiation. Did I hear correctly in the recorded forum? Retirement contribution by Sodexo wil be half what Kenyon will continue to pay other employees? President Nugent thinks that a 50% decrease in retirement contribution is comparable?

      • it will actually be less than half what they make via the kenyon retirement. Sedexo will pay in 3% (supposedly) and kenyon currently pays in 9.5%.

      • Please correct me if I’m wrong, this is certainly not my forte, but with a little math and the numbers above…

        Assuming an average salary of $40,000 for the 8 supervisors and 23 union members and with the corresponding decrease in employer contribution, moving these 31 employees to Sodexo results in an annual decrease of $80,000 in retirement contributions.

        So, 16% of the $500,000 in annual savings to Kenyon comes from cuts just to these employees’ retirement plan.

  9. I would like to clear one thing up. There are 5 supervisors and 3 female office staff. I can assure that these three women do not make anything even close to $40,000. You could almost cut that in half. Once Sodexo takes over all paychecks will be smaller due to higher insurance rates.

    • Absolutely, any employee terminated from Kenyon and hired by Sodexo *will* suffer loss of pay through benefits including severe cuts in retirement funding and increased cost of health insurance. And the savings from those cuts will benefit Kenyon.

      President Nugent offered a chart to compare and contrast the benefits offered by Kenyon and Sodexo during the forum on Friday. Let’s see it.

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