NYU Dorm Students Take to Social Media to Slam School's Quarantine Meals

By WCBS Newsradio 880

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Out-of-state students are not happy with the food they've been getting while quarantined inside their dorm rooms at New York University.

Many students arrived at the school two weeks early to comply with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's order requiring people traveling into New York from states with high coronavirus infection rates to quarantine for 14 days.

The students have been provided brown bag meals and some have turned to social media to complain, claiming the food delivered to their doors could barely sustain them.

The so-called meals included potato chips, graham crackers, Cheetos and unripe fruit, or in the case of one student, a lemon.

Some who are vegetarian and vegan said their meals included meat. Others say they never got breakfast or only had one meal delivered for the day.

One student posted a video on the social media app TikTok showing her neighbor across the hall had posted a note on her door that read, "Please don't skip my room for food. I haven't gotten food today or yesterday. Please help."

Another student, who has a gluten allergy, said she received a chicken sandwich.

Ricardo Sheler, 17, shared a video of his lunch which was labeled "chicken Caesar salad," but only contained salad dressing, an apple and a bag of chips.

Another student feared she was intentionally being skipped over after complaining about the food on TikTok.

"I think NYU saw my TikTok last night because it is currently 2 p.m. and they have not fed me all day," the student said in a video. "They brought food for my suitemate but they didn't bring anything for me. NYU, I'm sory if I hurt your feelings, please feed me."

The university has sent out emails apologizing and pledging to do better.

"We are aware of the students' complaints, which are valid," NYU spokesperson John Beckman said. "This is a never-before-tried operation for us and our food vendor, Chartwells, ie. large-scale delivery of meals to student rooms."

According to Beckman, there are over 2,600 students quarantining in the university residence halls who are supposed to receive three "decent" meals daily.

"Nearly 20% of the meals are specialized–kosher, vegan, halal, etc. But it is vital to get it right, and we are disappointed in Chartwells's management of the quarantine meals process. We and Chartwells are correcting the situation promptly," Beckman said.

The school is taking the following actions to address the situation:

- Adding a shift to start making meals earlier in the day for delivery, so they are ready for delivery earlier
- Adding staff to respond promptly to student food complaintsDedicating food-service staff to the speciality meal preparation so that the right number of speciality meals are getting to the right people at the right time
- Adding staff at the residence halls to deliver the meals to the rooms more promptly
- Bringing on an additional food service provider so there is additional capacity
- And we have authorized staff in the residence halls to order meals through regular delivery services or to provide money to students to order delivery themselves if the food that shows up isn't good enoughIn addition, students have been given a $100 gift card to order food.

"We recognize that when people are required to quarantine in their rooms by themselves, few things in the day are more important than looking forward to something nice to eat, so this is a particularly regrettable error, and a let-down for our students," Beckman said. "We are dismayed that this didn't go off as planned, we and Chartwells apologize to the students, and we are committed to correcting this promptly." 

Tuition, room and board at the university costs an average of $70,000 a year.