SGA denies proposal for cage-free eggs at UD
Published: Monday, February 20, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 03:02
The Student Government Association denied a proposal at Tuesday's meeting to support the Vegetarian Student Association's recommendation that the university's Dining Services switch from battery-cage eggs to cage-free egg products.
An earlier proposal to support the recommendation was passed by SGA one year ago, but it estimated the price of each meal plan would increase by $5 after the switch.
Tuesday's vote featured an updated estimate, an increase of $18 to $20 per meal plan, and failed with 15 opposed to the motion, eight in favor and two abstentions.
SGA president and senior Molly Sullivan said lack of student support led to the proposal's dismissal.
"I personally do not believe that this is representative of the student body to add $18 to $20 per meal plan," Sullivan said. "I don't think students here are that passionate about it."
The price of meal plans are increased annually to cover the additional costs of food products, labor and utilities. Dining Services and Hospitality Services officials recently estimated it would cost between $110,000 and $120,000 in total to switch to cage-free egg products from Sysco, the vendor that currently supplies the university.
The Vegetarian Student Association's president, senior Chelsea McFadden, said she believed SGA made the wrong decision because the switch to cage-free eggs would present a 1 percent price increase for meal plans.
"I think that for something that is so important for human health and animal welfare and for the environment that this really is a worthwhile expenditure," McFadden said. "It's not something that's frivolous."
She said battery cage eggs present health problems because disease breeds in tight enclosures, and noted that the European Union banned battery-cage eggs on Jan. 1st.
McFadden created both a local petition, which received 3,500 signatures from students, and a public online petition featuring more than 5,000 signatures. She also said the Vegetarian Student Association received letters from alumni, threatening to withhold donations to the university until the switch to cage-free eggs is made.
"I'm going to regroup and make a strategy for making this happen," she said.
Sullivan and junior Dave Mroz, SGA director of operations, also announced structural change within the organization. The number of SGA members was raised from 31 to 40, made up of half-elected and half-appointed positions.
The changes passed unanimously, and Mroz said they were made to help the organization move to a more elected system, and appeal to a larger number of student groups. He said SGA will be able to run more efficiently, and committees will have more freedom to meet and network with organizations on campus.
Junior Michelle Barineau, SGA director of public relations, said the new structure will increase student involvement, and is confident the goal will be reached.
"Of course there's going to be a transition period, possibly with things we didn't foresee," Barineau said. "I'm confident it was thought out for months and we definitely want to pursue efficiency and democracy and I believe we achieved that with this structure."
University Provost Tom Apple also spoke at the meeting about classroom shortages and overcrowding.
He said there is a high demand from both students and professors for classes between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., but that it sometimes causes scheduling conflicts. He hopes to see classes offered at a wider variety of times, so students can have more freedom to take both required and elective classes.
Apple proposed offering Saturday classes to the Faculty Senate in September of 2009 to help spread out the schedule and discourage Friday night partying, but the idea has not received sufficient faculty support.
"I'm known for my Saturday class idea," Apple said. "Which was popular with one other person."