University row ends vending machine

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A row between the University and the official vending machine supplier ended last month with the independent Clean Eats vending machine being removed from Harry Fairhurst.

The offending vending machine was part of an entrepreneurial project started by York resident Will Letts to “support the right kind of snacking.”

The machine came in violation of a contract giving rival vending machine company Upton’s exclusive rights to all vending space in the university, excluding YUSU space.

Scott Dawson, YUSU welfare officer, said its removal was down to the University.

He said: “The contract between the University and Uptons vending meant that we had no choice but to move the machine, despite support from the library team. Our hands were tied.

“I think this is sadly an example where University contracts harm diversity and support for our students.”

He added: “The University team have been understanding, but more needs to be done to allow YUSU and other initiatives to support students without the threat of being undermined by oppressive contracts.”

Letts, the founder of Clean Eats, told York Vision he was disappointed by the decision.

“In our five months at the York University library, Clean Eat’s healthy vending machine averaged around 450 transactions a week and over 1000 during the January exam period,” he said.

“It would be a great shame to permanently remove a machine enjoyed and praised by so many students and staff. We were due to introduce olives in April and vend-sized houmus dip pots to launch from September.”

The decommissioning of the vending machine has also angered the student body.

Third year politics and philosophy student Sammy Armstrong said: “If you’re a third year and spending ‘this’ much time in the library, you want options.

"There are only so many times you can eat rolos.”

Third year economics student Jack Waller told York Vision: “Even with the machine, the University didn’t have enough healthy options.

“The meal deal doesn’t come with juice or fruit. They are always going on about how we need to look after ourselves and yet they only want us to do so if it’s in their best interests.”
 

Columnist at York Vision and Chat Politics.