University News

BuDS trains workers for dining hall theft

BuDS workers say theft-related training varies by unit, Jo’s begins using clear cups to hinder theft

By
Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Though Dining Services has not changed its enforcement of policies regarding theft, Jo’s has switched to using clear cups that thwart theft.

While food theft from campus dining halls is a persistent problem, different Brown Dining Services units approach training staffers to deal with stealing in different ways.

“Training depends on the unit,” said Randy Biagas-Hill ’17, a supervisor for BuDS. Some trainings instruct workers not to confront those who are stealing food, while others direct them to try to note the person’s name or ask if they want to pay for their food.

“You shouldn’t stop somebody. You don’t really want to get in the way,” said Patrick Frame ’17, a BuDS employee who works at Josiah’s and the Barus and Holley cart. The endangerment of a worker from intervening wouldn’t be worth it, he added.

But there are “no differences in the way we’re enforcing policies regarding theft” this year, wrote Emily Lynch, marketing and communications specialist for Dining Services, in an email to The Herald.

There’s somewhat less stealing now that Jo’s has switched to using clear cups instead of opaque ones that allowed people to conceal food, Biagas-Hill said.

Tionne Pete ’17, general manager of BuDS workers, has been working with BuDS for three years and now trains supervisors and unit managers in addition to other duties. She sees stealing frequently at Jo’s, as well as at the Sharpe Refectory and the Verney-Woolley Dining Hall, she said.

Students might be stealing for a variety of reasons. “Some people think that theft is factored into the meal plan, so people are acting on that,” Pete said.

And some “feel like they’re being overcharged,” said Dhatri Abeyaratne ’19, a BuDS worker, adding that she believes certain items are overpriced.

Yamileth Renteria ’19, a BuDS employee, noted that students may feel the need to conserve points at the end of the semester.

Especially for student athletes, the meal plan may not provide enough food, Pete said.

According to Biagas-Hill, stealing is an issue mostly on the weekends, and only then are Department of Public Safety officers necessary. “Drunk party people think they can get away (with) it,” he said. “Sometimes it’s just that they’re privileged, and they can assert that however they want without any consequences.”

Pete heard recently that some students had built a game around stealing from Jo’s in the presence of Department of Public Safety officers. “It’s almost disrespecting your peers, making a game of stealing,” she said.

“It’s not just a job for the BuDS workers,” Pete said. “They love it so much — it’s like family, it’s like home. It kind of hurts when people steal.”