Candy counter relocates; student employees jobless

Will Caverly

The candy counter, which has greeted students on the upstairs level of the Connelly Center since 1980, was recently closed by Dining Services and its employees are seeking work elsewhere.

According to Terry Sousa, assistant director for University Events and Catering, the lower level facilities in the Connelly Center, such as the Cyber Lounge, Reel Divine video store and the Ice Cream Shop, are underused.

“In order to drive more student participation into these areas and better utilize our staff, it was decided to move the candy to various locations downstairs,” he said.

The decision, while seemingly financially sound for the University, was a surprise to employees. Senior Laurie Park, a supervisor at the candy counter, said, “I had no idea … there wasn’t any sort of warning.”

She added that the University removed one of the “more unique jobs for students [because] students working there could socialize or do some homework. It was a great job.”

Cristina Stella, another former employee, said, “I think its unfair the University closed it without notifying the students, both those that work there and those that shop there.”

Timothy Dietzler, director of Dining Services, said that the decision resulted in “a more efficient use of University resources.”

Dining Services officials hope the underutilized areas will gain a boost by spreading the profits gained by the candy store throughout the downstairs areas of the Connelly Center.

An information desk with a full-time employee is now located at the upstairs counter of the Connelly Center. The new information clerk, Kathy McCrae, who was transferred through recent employment shifting on campus, will work at the desk during the day.

“The students have been wonderful to me,” she said. She said she was impressed with the professionalism of the students who lost their work opportunity. “Anything the students or the student union wants to do is fine with me,” McCrae said, citing calls for petitions and after-information desk hours for selling candy.

Former employees of the candy counter will be offered jobs within dining services, which still has a need for students with computer backgrounds, and plenty of campus jobs exist for students other than cashiering, including book keeping and use of the Banner financial system.

Senior Michelle Pack noted that there are more important campus issues that should be addressed before this one.

“I think that the student body is making a big issue out of something that I don’t even believe to be an issue,” she said. “There is still candy being sold in the building. The condition of Tolentine [Hall] is something that should be addressed”

Jeremy Godly, a sophomore, said, “It really doesn’t matter to me, because they are still selling candy. I suppose it’s just different.