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Cogliano Firing Must Not Stand

The decision by Aramark to fire Eddie Cogliano, director of the MacGregor House convenience store, demonstrates that Aramark has no interest in serving student needs, or cooperating with student leaders. Of all Aramark employees on the MIT campus, Cogliano alone could be said to have a strong rapport with students. His firing shows that Aramark has no desire to preserve what little positive relationship it has with students.

Over the past several years, members of the MIT community have expressed wide dissatisfaction with Aramark's provision of food services. When Aramark attempted to shut down west campus dining halls, a few concerned individuals averted this move by setting up viable operations in Baker House, Next House, and a convenience store in MacGregor House. One Aramark employee, Eddie Cogliano, worked particularly hard to make these services succeed. He was responsive to student needs, and he became popular as a result.

While the exact justification for removing Cogliano is not known, it seems he was fired because he was not an organizational man. Because Aramark has displayed little interest in meeting dormitory dining needs, Cogliano had to make his operations succeed without the assistance of his superiors. The fact that Cogliano was fired demonstrates that Aramark is more concerned about its organizational routines than with serving students.

The termination of Eddie Cogliano's employment is unacceptable. Either the Department of Housing and Food Services or the new Food Service Board should insist that the Aramark officials responsible be sanctioned accordingly. At the very least, Aramark General Manager Robert McBurney should either be fired or transferred out of Massachusetts. MIT needs to send Aramark a strong message that this sort of petty, uncooperative behavior will not be tolerated.

The decision to fire Cogliano demonstrates yet again the unresponsiveness of food service monopolies. If Aramark is allowed to bid for an MIT contract at all next year, its monopoly over food services should be broken up. Even with the best oversight, there is no chance an uncompetitive and unfeeling monopoly like Aramark will have any incentive to serve student needs. MIT should end the food service monopoly next year.

The firing of Eddie Cogliano should not stand. The Institute should respond to this outrage by demanding Cogliano's reinstatement, and the Aramark employees who were responsible for the decision should either be fired or transferred. Finally, Aramark should not even be allowed to bid for MIT's food service contract until these two conditions have been met.