Category Archives: News

College Struggles to Meet Sustainability Goals

Caroline Ward

Staff Writer




In the fall of 2018, President Sarah Bolton commissioned the College’s first campus sustainability committee to create a five-year sustainability plan. The plan aimed to bring the College up to speed with the rest of its peer institution’s sustainability measures. In May 2019, the Campus Sustainability Committee (CSC) initiated the “Sustainability Plan for the College of Wooster” and detailed the “why’s,” “what’s” and “how’s” of Wooster’s new sustainability initiatives. The plan listed five “Major Recommendations for Immediate Implementation,” other specific suggestions, a proposed preliminary timeline and a quantitative and qualitative comparison of Wooster’s sustainability efforts with those of 11 of our peer institutions. The plan’s major recommendations are “to hire a sustainability coordinator, form a renewable energy exploratory committee, conduct an external energy audit, create a revolving green fund and incorporate sustainability into campus culture and establish relevant goals and targets.”

 “The College needs to be sustainable in every sense of the term,” wrote the committee. “By taking deliberate, mindful action to address environmental challenges, we have an opportunity to distinguish ourselves in a positive way with prospective students and to make considered changes [sic] rather than reacting to changing conditions as they become urgent.”

Three years later, the College has not met the majority of the plan’s major recommendations.  Cory Horgan ’23, a former CSC member, and current president of Greenhouse Club, a sustainability and environmentalism club on campus, expressed his disappointment at the lack of progress. Horgan argues that the College’s culture is “not one of environmentalism,” citing the administration’s inaction. “The biggest problem is that it’s absurdly clear that the board does not  care,” Horgan said, “and the President’s office does not particularly care.” While the President regularly meets with Greenhouse at least once a semester, Horgan said it rarely results in tangible change. “Typically in meetings with her, you leave feeling really excited, but in the end, she doesn’t have the power the trustees do.” While Bolton initially agreed to comment, she was unable to reach the Voice. Horgan added that student development meetings with the trustees fail to create action. “Greenhouse is often listened to, and gets a lot of questions, people are very receptive, but it kind of dies there,” he said about the meetings. “The reality is we can make as much noise as we can, but we leave in four years.” On an Instagram post in honor of Earth Day, WooInsider received several comments from the student body. “We could really improve sustainability on campus if we hired a sustainability coordinator,” said Carly McWilliams ’22. Horgan agrees with McWilliam’s comment. “It begins with a sustainability coordinator,” he said. “Without a formal and respected channel within the College, it is far too easy for administration, the service center, grounds, dining, the president and anyone else to dismiss Greenhouse, Environmental Justice Coalition (EJC), or anyone who tries to push for a more sustainable campus.” 

While COVID-19 created unique challenges, Horgan stresses the environmental crisis’ own challenges. “I will commend the College on how much they have done, but I think it’s time to stop prioritizing the pandemic over the environment, and start to understand that they might have to live in coexistence for a while.” He points to actionable steps that can be taken without compromising the safety of staff, students and faculty: small steps such as the return of sustainable to-go boxes and an increased discount for the use of sustainable mugs to incentivise student use, and bigger steps like the appointment of a sustainability coordinator, or a sustainability department, like in many Ohio 5 schools. “It comes down to it being a priority,” Horgan says. “And I don’t think it’s a priority.”

Addendum to the Statement Against Outsourcing of C.O.W. Staff

In a follow-up email sent to the campus community regarding community response to the demands against outsourcing, Dr. Laura Burch stated, “Many
people added further comments to the form used to collect signatures. All comments received were strongly against outsourcing. The following pages
contain excerpts from these collected comments. Some comments include minor edits for clarity or concision.


The College Administration turned its mission […] on its head and turned its back on the staff.


I can’t support an administration that disrespects the faculty and staff at this institution. It is to the faculty and staff that I owe so much to when it comes to feeling like I’m in a community, that i am cared about, and that i can succeed. By outsourcing services and poorly treating the faculty and staff the administration has made themselves into an entity I no longer have much faith in.


It’s disrespectful to the staff that sacrificed during Covid for the benefit of students and the campus.


The employees of this college have been a huge help on my four years here and the treatment they are undergoing is absolutely shameful.


I completely agree with the stated reasoning. As a student who attended Wooster throughout the entire pandemic, the experience I was sold and continue to pay for continued to diminish to absurdly disrespectful levels including the decision to not include students in the decision regarding dining. The dining workers deserve better from the college.


The processes of unilateral decisions and lacking transparency/collaboration have been demonstrated in various situations. They claim the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion, but do such only when it fits their defined need – those elements are disregarded in far too many situations creating double standards. A total halt should be required until the current president is gone and new permanent leadership is in place, affording opportunity for assessment and full community participation (under new leadership). No action of this magnitude should be taking place – it presents as abuse of power to make a change by a leader that will no longer be on the ship.


The lack of clarity and discussion with the people who currently work hard at these jobs is a slap to their faces.


[T]his decision was not made with the staff of the College in mind. When will we stop seeing staff members getting the short end of the stick? I’ve talked with multiple dining and custodial staff members and the stories I’m hearing are things I wish I would never have heard here at Wooster.


Making unpopular decisions and then leaving someone else to address the fallout will hamper the ability of any incoming administration to effectively lead the college community.


Outsourcing is a decision with long-term consequences. Any incentives for cost-cutting should not be granted to the outgoing administrators but to the people who stick around and make sure that these decisions are executed correctly.


Announcing changes after the fact is very frustrating and adds to overall sense of a lack of collaboration, transparency, and community on campus. It contributes directly to low morale and lack of belief in and buy-in of institutional mission.


This is absolutely ridiculous that the college would rather outsource the jobs to a company instead of increasing pay for the hard-working staff of this campus. There are many hardworking staff members employed by the college that deserve better than this.


Unfaithful and unfair treatment of committed workers, not enough communication. Workers have had little to no say in the matter, treated in a highly disrespectful manner throughout the whole process.


The general lack of transparency was also present in communications with student employees, who were given incredibly little if any information about things such as wages, job security, etc. despite multiple factors such as the difficulty of obtaining other campus jobs, the need for work-study, etc.


The situation seems to have been forced down our throats, and in particular down the throats of individuals most affected: the student body and the employees in question.


Neoliberal measures that take away what is singular about COW as opposed to cultivating what is singular, interesting, and compelling about COW Not only is this decision a betrayal of staff who have worked loyally for the college for years and helped define the welcoming environment we have here, but it further destabilizes a campus which is already going through constant changes.


These decisions show that C.O.W. does not remotely care about its staff and is only concerned with its bottom line. The College of Wooster is willing to toss aside those who have dedicated their lives to this school […] it is a disgrace.


I think it’s long overdue that the dining staff receive more respect and be treated as valuable members of the college. Their futures should be as important as anyone else here on campus. 


The decision to distribute the work of the Copy Center onto employees across campus strikes me as antithetical to any stated goals of balancing workloads for staff. One of the biggest problems facing campus recently is the exodus of talented and experienced professionals, and as long as we keep getting surprise announcements like this, I expect it to continue apace.


I totally agree that the process was NOT done in a transparent and logical manner.


I worry about those employees who have been institutions at this college for decades being left in the dust by these endeavors. This school has repeatedly shown a total disrespect for its minimum wage employees, refusing to accept implementations of living wages or adequate acknowledgement of the difficulty and rigor of their campus contribution (save the occasional optimistic email). Our community deserves better.


Among the things that The College of Wooster has historically touted about itself is its sense of “family” and its ties to and support of the surrounding community. Both of these concerns seem to have been discarded in the making of decisions to “outsource.” Those decisions obviously were made without commitment to the Wooster family, and without consideration of the economic impact they will have on the larger community. Also, the reasons given for the decisions seem spurious.


The staff in these three roles are hugely important to the sense of community that students feel at the College. This decision communicates to students a devaluation of that community at a time when we need it all the more.


This is a hugely problematic decision that demonstrates a lack of care for workers.


While I agree that campus dining is diminishing and in need of new staff, organization, dining plans and more, this new plan felt rushed and inconsiderate.


The administration’s decisions to outsource dining staff and potentially also custodial staff is part of a larger pattern of both making decisions that violate the College’s stated values and are decisions made without proper input from affected constituencies. This needs to stop.


The manner in which this decision was announced, the search that followed, and resulting upheavals in the lives of our amazing staff is deeply embarrassing.


I think this was sprung upon the employees involved very secretly. They had no idea of what was going on. The employees are left with unexplained answers and uncertainty of their futures. After years of dedication to the college they were treated like dirt.


First, I found the stated rationale for the dining outsourcing specifically, hinging on menu planning, food labeling, and so on, to be deeply unconvincing. Second, the timing of the announcement was transparently a way to avoid having to engage with the community in what would have surely been a contentious public debate. Third, the President’s resignation announcement coming very shortly thereafter further underlines that there is a vast gulf between whoever is calling these shots and the rest of the community. In particular, it shows a lack of respect for genuinely collective decision making, on matters of real interest to all.


Horrible disrespect to the amazing employees that students love and have depended on for years.


The decision seemed rushed with little care for the COW staff and their role in our community I believe it is important to treat the people who go through grueling conditions in order to take care of us with respect.


We are strongest when we work together as a community. Our custodial and dining staff are essential and valuable members of the Wooster community.


I love the staff here. I have worked with some of the dining staff, and they are honestly some of my favorite people on this campus. They have worked so unbelievably hard to keep this campus running especially during the pandemic. It is a slap in the face that the campus is now outsourcing.


It is unfair to make these decisions without support from the college staff. Outsourcing is not the only option, and the staff should not need to worry about losing their benefits.


All decisions made by the administration should be transparent to all parties involved.


Why is efficiency privileged over local and community relationships, which takes many years to cultivate? Just like the Wooster Inn trees cut down without consultation, why are these relationships nurtured over long periods of time suddenly destroyed? Those who are making the decisions are not from the community and have nothing at stake, do not care about the relationships or the community’s long term health. Efficiency and cost-saving at the expense of long term relationships is terribly short-sighted. This has to be stopped immediately.


Having put in [over 2 decades] of service, this is the “reward” we received for a job well done. i worked through the pandemic, came in during snow storms, come in early to meet delivery trucks on my day off, plus many other things that most people would not do. This is a slap in the face and a punch in the gut.


I was scared to hear them tell us that they have layoffs and that I will most likely loose [significant accumulated] sick time if I can’t use it in two years […]. I have been a dedicated employee that has not called off for years and have been here through the entire pandemic working overtime, I feel that I should not have to lose […] sick time minus the 10% they are willing to pay out.


The people are what help make The College of Wooster great. We are losing sight of what the college means as a community. Those in charge of making decisions are not the ones living with those decisions. Rather, they are using Wooster as a resume builder and leaving the college, with no care for the damage their decisions can cause. Wooster should be a destination, not a stepping stone. We need leaders who WANT to stay for the long haul and therefore make changes for the betterment of the entire Wooster community, not just for what looks good on their resume.


Our wonderful staff who have been the backbone of this school during the pandemic are scared for their futures and their benefits. They don’t deserve this.


I feel it is a bad idea. All the hard work we put in for years and especially with COVID to lose all we worked for and our benefits as college employees. This decision was unfortunately rushed and is a slap in the face to all members of the college community. This is a direct contradiction to the college’s morals and messaging and dissuades previous alumni from providing support for future students. The dining staff make Wooster a home and have dedicated themselves to the college and its students, DESPITE poor treatment and a refusal to pay employees a living wage. The college’s excuse for failing to provide a living wage is the excellent benefit package, which is now at risk for all the staff who remain employed. To make this decision in the middle of a pandemic, without consulting the staff who would be affected, and without first paying a living wage to increase recruitment, will not only cost the college many of its wonderful employees but also the respect of the community and alumni. Even if it became obvious that outsourcing is the only possible way, please release the data demonstrating this, because this is otherwise a blatant financial play at the cost of those who keep the entire college functioning every single day.


I have first-hand witnessed the fear and anxiety, of the employees not knowing what their future will be. People who are close to retirement leaving starting over, after being at the college for years. It is awful not knowing what your pay, benefits will be or if you will be replaced after a new company takes over.


Yes the college has lost many of its dedicated hard workers due to poor decision making from people in charge of these departments. From taking people and sticking them on a shift they weren’t hired to work to making people rotate buildings and not be able to show pride in their work. It was a great place to be with excellent benefits but with all the changes it’s just an okay place to work.


The College Administration turned its mission […] on its head and turned its back on the staff.


I understand the college needs to make big strides to improving the campus dining however they are clearly rushing to find a band-aid to the situation without considering the long-term implications.


For over 150 years community has been the watchword at Wooster; it has been disgraceful to see that community so thoroughly disrespected by the administration and supposed stewards of the College’s mission. Outsourcing the staff the college depended on during the pandemic is abhorrent.

My observations of local decisions to outsource in attempt to solve one problem, created new ones. I wished I understood the rationale for these decisions. Supporting people in our community is important.


I’ve worked in Lowry and see how this is affecting former coworkers and friends. I’m open to outsourcing but it needs to be conducted ethically and in a way that protects current employees in the long term.


This is horrific and extremely frustrating news. If you want to pinch pennies, perhaps you start with those at the top, instead of sacrificing the wages and lives of the workers who keep your campus running. The administration should be embarrassed that it would even consider such a move. This is no one to treat people and no way to run an institution that attempts to teach values of equity and justice.


The final say on whether to outsource or not should be made after all the key stakeholders had the opportunity to analyze and compare the current structure of business with the alternatives.


I feel that more discussion is needed as to the pros and cons of outsourcing campus dinning work. So far it seems a little too ambiguous, thus putting the current workers in a state of limbo. Our fellow colleagues in dining and custodial services and the Copy Center are essential to the success and mission of this institution. The Copy Center in particular is a huge asset to the entire Athletic Department and the success and promotion of all our student-athletes and teams.


Our department prints many things over the course of the week/month and year. This will delay our mailings or have us end connections with those we are recruiting.


Group of Faculty Rally C.O.W. Community Against Admin’s Outsourcing Process

Samuel Boudreau

News Editor




Petition divides college community as administration welcomes Creative Dining Services. Many staff members have condemned outsourcing since last 2020, when the College partnered with ABM Industries for custodial services.

As Outlook’s signature notification sound hit their eardrums, The College of Wooster’s faculty members found an unusual email on their screens. “Significant decisions have been made that affect the College and our work as faculty,” read the email. “Do you feel like your voice and perspective is being actively sought in governing the College? Is your perspective being incorporated into decisions? How effective is Wooster’s culture of shared governance? Whatever your answer, please consider coming to an informal/open meeting of the faculty at 5 p.m. on April 1.” The email, signed by Jeffrey Lindberg, Amyaz Moledina, Madonna Hettinger, Pam Frese, Joan Friedman, Laura Burch, Greg Shaya and Jeff Roche, advocated for “shared governance” at the College. According to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), shared governance is “…the joint responsibility of faculty, administrations, and governing boards to govern colleges and universities. Differences in the weight of each group’s voice on a particular issue should be determined by the extent of its responsibility for and expertise on that issue.” 

While the email indicated no single incident on behalf of the administration, signs point towards a flurry of emails sent by President Sarah Bolton to the campus community from Jan. 5 to 11, including her resignation from Wooster, a rise in comprehensive fees at the College and the outsourcing of the College’s custodial and dining services. The latter decision particularly led to criticism from dining and custodial staff employees, as the decision was only made by Bolton, Mike Taylor, Marjorie Shamp and Bolton’s “senior team,” including Jim Prince, Dean Hernandéz and Provost Lisa Perfetti. Bolton’s team also notified the College’s board of trustees before the decision to outsource services was made by the administration. The College’s custodial and dining staff did not know about the move to outsource these services until after the decision made by the administration. “No one in campus dining or custodial knew what was going on,” said one dining staff member, as members of the College’s administration broke the news to custodial and dining staff in Scheide Music Center over winter break. 

A week after faculty members met at an unknown location to discuss Lindberg et al.’s email, Bolton announced that the College decided to partner with Creative Dining Service (CDS) as their new dining partner. “As we plan this transition, which will take place in July, the thriving of our people – our students, our dining staff, and our campus as a whole – is our very top priority,” said Bolton. CDS, a Michigan-based company, met with the campus on March 10 in the Governance Room. While the event was mainly attended by the College’s administration, members of the College’s living wage campaign also attended the event. At the meeting, CDS executives promised staff members the retention of current benefits, specific and expanded meal plans for various groups on campus, open communication with the community and a complete overhaul of “the entire dining ecosystem.” The College’s Living Wage campaign posted an infographic summary of the meeting on instagram, stating that “CDS has established partnerships with companies that employ prison labor.” 

On April 8, Bolton and Prince met with dining staff members in the “Lowry ballroom” on the same day, announcing CDS as their new employer. One dining staff member claimed that when Bolton was asked what would happen to their sick time, she said CDS would answer the question on April 12. “I believe she did not want to answer because the answer was not favorabl[e] to us,” said the staff member.

A document obtained by the Voice lists CDS’ benefits for staff members: 


Options for individuals transitioning to Creative Dining 

a.) An employee can elect to take a 100 percent payout of their current vacation bank on or before June 30, 2022 with the understanding they can request time off but may have some days that would be unpaid because they have not accrued enough vacation time.

b.) An employee can elect to take a payout of their current bank and keep up to 80 hours (if they have that much left over) of their vacation time to be placed in vacation time to be placed 

c.) An employee can take 100 percent of their vacation bank and transfer into the Creative Dining PTO bank to be accessed at their discretion effective July 1, 2022.

Sick Time: 

For those transitioning to Creative Dining 

-10% of the remaining sick time will be paid out by the College as of June 30, 2022.

-Unused sick time accrued at the College of Wooster will be honored by Creative Dining through June 20, 2024 (two years.)

-Employees will begin earning PTO at Creative Dining on July 1, 2022, based on their seniority. 

Health Insurance Deductible:

-For those transitioning to Creative Dining 

From July 1 to Dec. 31, 2022, staff can transfer over remaining deductibles.

-Once staff move over to Creative Dining insurance program (by Jan. 1, 2023), premiums will remain at the level being paid by The College of Wooster employees going forward, as long as employee continues to work for Creative Dining on the College of Wooster campus. (Similar to what you are paying this year.) 

Tuition benefits: 

For staff transitioning to Creative Dining on the Wooster Campus, [sic]

-Dependent eligibility for Tuition Exchange Benefit continues with the same requirements as for College of Wooster employees.

-Staff and dependents are eligible for full tuition scholarship to the College of Wooster employees.”


While CDS said staff members are eligible for tuition benefits, one faculty member told the Voice that taxes may hinder these benefits, due to the staff members no longer being an official employee of the College. 

A campus dining employee also claims staff members will also lose money from their medical insurance’s flex spending account. “One staff member is going to lose $2,000 of [their]  own hard-earned money,” said the dining staff member.

As students finished lunch on April 12,  Burch and “a group of faculty” sent an email to the campus community, condemning the College’s outsourcing decision-process. “As you may be aware, the College of Wooster’s administration has recently decided to outsource our dining and custodial services.” Burch also said the College “reorganized” their copy center, a decision not publicly announced by the College. “A group of faculty have drafted a statement opposing these decisions, and we are seeking support from the larger campus community: staff, students, faculty, retirees, and alumni,” said Burch.

The petition denounced the College’s decision due to a lack of transparency, disrespect towards the College’s staff through an ongoing pandemic, and a “contradiction” of student graduate qualities. The petition called for shared governance along with the “immediate cessation of all outsourcing efforts for all labor sectors of College of Wooster employees.”

While the petition received 698 signatures, the majority of faculty, staff and students did not sign the petition, many citing an overabundance of faculty power, a lack of details and outsourcing benefits. 

James Moline, a receiving clerk in Campus Dining/Conference Services, believes members of the campus community acted too late. “I personally am in favor of the process moving forward at this point in time. I believe halting it now, especially to [the] Custodial Department which has lost half its staff and is in a crisis mode, is counterproductive and harmful to the effectiveness of either service.” Moline continued, “These points of halting the process should have been brought forward early in February. Now it’s like trying to steer a semi truck going 50 miles an hour to make a U-turn on a two-lane highway.” According to a source familiar to the situation, the Custodial Department currently has only 17 out of 48 custodians necessary to maintain the College, with upwards of six custodians quitting per week. “We want out for the fact that we’re not good enough to work for the College anymore,” said one custodian.

As of April 19, Bolton has yet to respond to the petition, as her Wooster presidency dwindles down amidst a fractured and frustrated campus.