GUSA representatives announced yesterday that the university has selected its preferred new vendor to occupy Darnall cafeteria, but officials refused to identify the vendor because the university remains in ongoing contractual negotiations.

Eamonn Carr (COL ’06), the student association’s secretary of housing and facilities, who has been closely involved in negotiations, said yesterday that business obligations prevent GUSA representatives or any university administrators from disclosing the vendor’s name until terms of the contract have been finalized.

“If we were to release the name, then it automatically gives the vendor the notion that they have definitely got the bid,” Carr said. He said that this would reduce the university’s negotiating power.

“I don’t want to be responsible for jeopardizing the contractual process,” Carr said.

The Darnall cafeteria has been closed since last spring, and administrators have been searching for a new vendor to occupy the location since last summer. Throughout the process, the university has refused to disclose the names of the vendors being considered.

Carr said that the university hopes for the cafeteria to open for the beginning of the fall semester, but said plans have not been finalized.

He described the vendor as a sit-down, buffet-style restaurant with a diverse menu.

“It is not going to be a fast food restaurant,” he said.

“They are a chain known throughout the Washington, D.C. area,” he said. “They currently operate adjacent to an area university, so they are well aware of the variety of student interests.”

Several student organizations including GUSA and Residence Life were present at a meeting on Thursday which finalized the selection.

“Everyone agrees that the process has reflected the student interest,” Carr said. “The shared student interest is to increase the diversity of food vendors on campus and to create competition with Marriott.”

However, the group Students for Student Space has been highly critical of the administration and GUSA for not considering student opinion in the selection process.

“We as a group have not been contacted by the administration,” said Michael Joiner (MSB ’06), co-founder of Students for Student Space.

Joiner said that Jonathan Aires (SFS ’06), another co-founder of his group, met with Carr and administration officials, but the group was kept out of the process.

“It just seems like another move by the university not to consider the interests of the students,” he said.

Carr said that he felt that the selection process had taken the great variety of student interests into account, from financial to health issues.

He added that students will be able to use the university’s meal plan in the new Darnall restaurant.

“The one requirement we’ve had with these vendors is to bring someone in who will accept Georgetown’s meal plan,” he said. Carr said that this condition has slowed the process, but will ultimately benefit students financially.

Carr said that the logistics of meal plans in Darnall are still being worked out, but that the system would probably be similar to the one in place in O’Donovan Hall.

He added that the vendor will require that construction take place within the cafeteria before it opens.

“Renovations will be strictly internal. City regulations would slow external renovations,” he said.

“The goal is to have them installed for either summer or fall 2006,” Carr said.

Carr originally said that GUSA’s goal was to select a vendor by the end of the fall semester of last year and reopen the Darnall cafeteria by the end of the current semester.

Increased competition between the growing numbers of food vendors on campus, including the five vendors that opened at Hoya Court last fall, will ultimately be beneficial to the student body, increasing both quality and cost of food, Carr said.

The decision comes only months before Marriott’s contract to fill O’Donovan Hall is set to expire. Carr said that the university is currently considering the possibility of hiring alternate vendors to fill O’Donovan, rather than renewing the contract with Marriott.

Margie Bryant, associate vice president for auxiliary services, who is leading administrators’ involvement in the Darnall bidding, could not be reached for comment.

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