Low Illinois College food inspection score sparks reaction from students

By Ryne Turke on October 22, 2016 at 10:48am

Illinois College students are voicing their concerns with the dining options on campus after the school received a poor health inspection rating.

Cummings Dining Hall, one of three dining options at Illinois College, was given a rating of 73 during an October 5th inspection from the Morgan County Health Department. The inspection scale ranges from a perfect 100 to zero, with 70 considered failing.

Illinois College Vice President of Business Affairs Tim Weis was shocked when he heard about the low rating at Cummings Hall, especially considering the lowest score that location has received in the last five years is a 90 and the other dining options on campus recently received a 99 or higher.

“Trust me, when I received the email about the score I was floored, very upset and embarrassed for Chartwells, the third party company. I was copied in an email along with the food directors bosses and was one of the first to respond to ensure the safety and quality of the food for our students. My second email was to President Barbara Farley, so this was not an issue that we took lightly,” says Weis.

Weis says the two “critical violations” and several minor violations were corrected while the inspector was conducting the inspection. Weis says the college went a step further to insure the health safety of students eating on campus.

“We contract our food service out to a third party and over the weekend they had another cleaning crew come in and do a full gut cleaning of the facility. It looks phenomenal. We got a re-inspection from the inspector. All the violations were corrected, so we received a 100 percent on our recent re-inspection.”

But it isn’t just the recent health scare keeping some Illinois College students out of the dining halls.

Junior Amber Blazek discovered she had a gluten allergy over the summer, which prompted her to opt out of the meal plan. Blazek feels there isn’t enough meal options on campus for students with food allergies.

“It would be impossible for me to eat there, because gluten is in a lot of things you wouldn’t expect. They really don’t have a lot of options if you are trying to eat healthy. On the weekends only the dining hall is open and they only have one or two choices to eat. I think it is absolutely ridiculous the amount of money we are paying,” says Blazek.

Fellow Junior Shelby Thompson has had a meal plan all three year at Illinois College and feels there are a lot of “inconsistencies” in the food being offered.

“It’s really disappointing because we already pay a lot for our tuition and services on campus. The fact they don’t offer us the options we would like is disappointing. For the food, you have some days it is good and you don’t have digestive issues and then other days where it looks disgusting and wasn’t prepared very well. I am a vegetarian and whenever I go into The Grill or cafeteria there isn’t many options for me,” says Thompson.

Thompson plans to opt out of the meal plan next year, unless better food options are made available. A meal plan costs students $4,300 a year.