The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday March 20th

CDS: Arrests Are No Danger to Students

But a few adjustments are being made to the working relationship between management and staff to prevent further disputes.

In addition to recently implementing background checks on all newly hired workers, Aramark Corp. -- the company in charge of hiring for CDS -- has been holding meetings with managers and employees every week and stressing the guidelines in the employee handbook.

"We have been proactive in making sure that the employees know about the policies and to prevent any future instances," said Evan Klingman, Aramark's general manager of dining services.

In the past two months, employees working at Lenoir Dining Hall or Chase Hall have been involved in four separate criminal incidents. Two workers were arrested in August, and two workers were taken into custody for allegedly assaulting a co-worker in separate occurrences last week.

To prevent any more problems and to better accommodate Aramark's employees, the company also has started job movements, Klingman said.

For example, Aramark might hire an employee to work at Subway but eventually move the worker to a different work station if the employee is more suited to work at the second location.

Latisha Atwater, a cashier for Ram Cafe, has worked for CDS for one year and said news of the physical assaults has not intimidated her.

"I knew the people, and I knew that it probably wouldn't happen to me," Atwater said.

CDS Director Ira Simon agrees the incidents do not pose a danger to the safety of employees or students.

"I think that most of these have been domestic problems," he said. "I'm confident that students are not at risk under these circumstances."

Atwater said she thinks the problems stemmed from employees reacting poorly to their hours being cut.

"They should have a meeting to tell the employees why they are cutting the hours instead of just cutting them and making everybody upset," Atwater said.

But Klingman said he didn't think that was the issue and said he couldn't comment further on the nature of the incidents, as they are still under investigation.

Klingman said Aramark is not creating any new plans to deal with employee disputes and that the company will follow the protocol it has used during the past few weeks. "We contact public safety on campus and get them involved and follow the policy and procedures that are set forth in the (employee) handbook," Klingman said.

But overall, Mark McIntyre, captain of the criminal investigations division of the Department of Public Safety, said students do not need to be alarmed by the CDS employee arrests that have taken place in the past few weeks.

"I don't think (the dining hall) is a dangerous place," McIntyre said. "These incidents were isolated, and I don't feel like there's any need to be fearful. The problems should not concern the students."

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