The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

Simpson Sodexo GM Nielsen analyzes Norwich University Sodexo scandal

safebitesnorwich Instagram page
A call to action post that was made to the petitioner’s Instagram.

A safe and reliable food source is essential on a college or university campus for students to remain healthy and capable of pursuing their academics, athletics and extracurriculars. At Norwich University, a military college in Vermont, students have rallied together and declared the Sodexo services on their campus have denied them safe meals.

The university is the oldest private and senior college in the United States. Their enrollment numbers are also roughly three times the size of Simpson’s. However, a campus of any size needs safe access to food and dining. 

An anonymous student named “Mystery Cadet” has started both an online petition and an Instagram page to rally fellow students and demand a change. The petition was originally posted on March 14.

The account argues students have experienced maggots in their food, food poisoning, dirty dishes and undercooked meals over the last year. Many photos have been posted to the Instagram account to depict said events, and within the last two weeks, the account has gained 147 followers. The petition urging both Sodexo management on the campus as well as the Norwich Board of Trustees to make a change stands at 222 signatures at the time of writing.

The petition, begun by “Mystery Cadet,” has 222 signers at the time of publication. ( page)

Simpson’s Sodexo General Manager, Ben Nielsen, was appalled upon learning about the circumstances reportedly plaguing Norwich.

“It’s disturbing to me that the management at that unit did not know about this before students actually knew about it,” he said. “As soon as we see an issue, we take care of it. Right away.”

 Nielsen spared no criticism on the Sodexo unit from across the country when talking about how he would handle things.

 “If it got to that point, I would be coming down on my managers real hard,” he said. Deep-cleaning problem areas and figuring out the source of problems would be his number one priority.

What Nielsen couldn’t understand was how the problematic food made its way to being served to students. “That means the cooks knew what was happening,” he said. “Whoever did that should be immediately fired, for one. You’re walked out the door.”

The petition, as stated before, calls the Norwich Board of Trustees to action. Nielsen suggested the issues presented could be due to the relationship between the school and the dining provider, such as the dining provider not having full control over facilities for certain tasks, like spraying for pests. However, better communication is needed for basic sanitation measures to be executed well.

“It falls on the food service provider first, and then it falls back on the school,” Nielsen said.

Undercooked food was another main point being driven by the petition starter at Norwich, especially through images of bright pink meat said to be chicken.

Photo showing what appears to be undercooked chicken on the petitioner’s Instagram.

Nielsen stated that issues with cooking food the appropriate length could happen, although rare, but continually seeing the issue to the reported extent of what Norwich is experiencing is unacceptable. 

“We know we’ve had comments here of undercooked food, and those cooks are no longer here that we were having issues with,” he said.

If the extreme issues persist, management staff is not taking care of the frontline staff the way they should, said Nielsen.

Routine checks and audits are an important part of keeping the necessary standard for dining services on campus. Nielsen said Simpson’s Sodexo services are inspected once a year by both the Health Department and third-party auditor, EcoSure. The facilities also go through two inspections a month by Sodexo management.

Without a doubt, Norwich has some big questions to answer, and its Sodexo unit will be in the hot seat. Discussion over potentially changing dining services could even be at the forefront of the conversation, Nielsen said.


Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Caleb Geer
Caleb Geer, Ad Manager & Website Editor

Comments (0)

All The Simpsonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest