Potatoes please, no bolsheviks

By Dean Hetherington

Is the University of Calgary’s Food Services breeding Bolsheviks?

It is, according to recent notices appearing around campus. Posters titled, "Is Your Kitchen Breeding Bolsheviks?" argue corrupt management, poor pay, layoffs and decreasing benefits are a potential "recipe for revolution" within Food Services.

"I have no real comment on them," said General Manager of Food Services George Thomson. "A lot of the information is completely inaccurate. We gather that it’s probably a disgruntled employee who has access to professional production."

Underneath a picture of Lenin in a chef’s hat, the text indicates how wage levels, term layoffs and reduced operating costs leave upper management with unaccounted financial gains.

Thomson disagreed with the way management and wages were illustrated.

"People are laughing at this because it’s obviously not serious," said Thompson. "The only thing that is accurate about its statements is that we close between semesters in winter. It points out that management receives special bonuses and that benefits are poor. It is simply untrue that management receives any bonus."

Thompson specified alternative ways of resolving issues.

"If an employee has a problem they should first go to their supervisor, who would then go to management or human resources," he said. "If he or she really feels they need representation they can go through their union."

Despite the allegations, Thomson feels Food Services is an excellent employer.

"We’ve had negative documents posted against management before, however, we feel that we offer a large number of students flexible schedules, meal discounts, a close work location and skills that they can put on a resumé," he said. "Most of all, we offer a place where people can work together and make friends."

Campus Security received no complaints about the posters.

"This sort of thing will happen once or twice a year but in past cases the documents had a sharp edge leaning towards hate," said U of C Campus Security Manager Lanny Fritz. "Under those circumstances we filled out a report and took the posters down. We will only deal with this after someone has complained or feels that someone’s feelings are going to be hurt."

The Students’ Union agreed with this stance.

"If it’s not really breaking the poster policy, that is, something libellous, racist, slanderous or otherwise on our list of no-no’s, then freedom of speech says that it stays," said SU President Barb Wright. "We don’t monitor posters really stringently simply because it would take a lot of resources to keep track of exactly what is going on at each poster board on campus. For the most part, we don’t really have any problems but a couple times of year we have some posters arise and we do our best to find out who is responsible for them."

Students with concerns are advised to contact the SU.

"We will direct them to Kelly Hutton, the building manager," said Wright. "[The posters] would be removed and taken to him so that a meeting with the poster’s makers could be arranged."

At present no one has taken responsibility for the posters.

"It’s unfortunate that there is no name on them. It’s too bad nobody is trying to get noticed for their campaign," said Thomson.

"It’s propaganda," added Wright. "Whether this poster is negative or positive is your own perceptions."

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