BY WATCHING ADAMS STAFF – 4/25/16
On February 29th, Watching Adams published a commentary titled “Food Insecurity at Adams?” that discussed a recent practice by Adams State University (ASU) to block current students from using their cafeteria meal tickets until their tuition and fee payments have been made in full. Students are informed by a pink slip of paper that “access to your meal ticket and access to the Rex will be blocked… if payment arrangements have not been completed.”
The Watching Adams commentary expressed concern that ASU is furthering a national problem that is especially prevalent in the San Luis Valley, food insecurity. The article concluded: “What sort of message are we sending our students when we threaten their food funds in order to receive tuition payment? And lastly, what sort of picture does this paint of ASU’s financial situation when we are so desperate for tuition payments that we threaten our students’ food funds in order to increase our revenue? If you’re looking to be creative, make positive policy change to help increase student retention – this is not the way to do it.”
One source familiar with the “pink slip” policy indicated that Housing and Residence Life believed it to be a last resort for students who had not yet made payment arrangements for outstanding account balances. One employee said, “regardless of the explanation, there is always a better way.”
On March 28th, Adams State University sent out a campus-wide email to a survey entitled “Feeding ASU” via the platform Survey Monkey. As of this publication, the survey can still be found online here.
The survey asks a variety of questions regarding ASU status and living circumstances, access to meals, and financial constraints that may impact regular and nutritious eating. Additionally, the survey asks about the possibility for an emergency food bank program on campus. The survey does not directly address the university’s practice of withholding cafeteria meal tickets for delinquent student accounts.
One ASU employee said of the survey, “I took it pretty quickly, but it appeared to be thrown together with errors, repeated questions, and questions that didn’t offer a sensible answer for everybody.”
Of the survey itself, another employee observed, “make no mistake, the Watching Adams commentary made this happen.”