The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday December 7th

CDS: String of Arrests Not Proof of Internal Problem

One CDS employee was arrested in Lenoir Dining Hall on Monday for assault on a female and injury to real property. Another CDS employee was arrested Sunday in Lenoir for probation violation.

The four other recent arrests included an incident in which a CDS employee assaulted a co-worker and one in which an employee was arrested for bringing a gun to Lenoir.

Although CDS Director Ira Simon said he is concerned about the series of arrests, he said CDS has close to 300 employees and managers cannot control all of the employees' actions, especially when they are not at work.

"I've been doing this for 25 years, and it's unusual to have so many arrests in such a short period," Simon said. "I think it's going to stop. People who want to work and are dependable will eventually make up a solid team of employees, and these problems will go away."

Travis Smith, who has worked for CDS for two years, was hired by Sodexho-Marriott, the previous food services provider for CDS. He said he is surprised by the number of arrests.

"We're calm folk. It wasn't like this last year," Smith said. "People are just hostile."

Smith said the problem might stem from the employees' close proximity at work and at home. "A lot of people that work here also live around the area," Smith said. "So the problems that originate out of work are brought into work."

Vel Dowdy, a cashier for Lenoir, said the arrests did not shock her. "I understand employees have their attitudes too, but the new management doesn't know how to talk to people," Dowdy said about Aramark Corp., which is in the first year of its contract with CDS.

Aramark Corp. representative Evan Klingman said last week that managers and employees meet weekly, but Smith said the last meeting was after Labor Day.

Klingman was unavailable for further comment Tuesday.

"They should have (the meetings) all the time, but they don't," Smith said.

Simon said CDS is responding to the arrests by not only instituting background checks but by also taking a more proactive approach to checking applicants' references and work history.

Dowdy also said a string of arrests has never happened before, and she hopes management doesn't react rashly to the arrests by firing innocent people.

Employee arrests are handled on a case-by-case basis.

Dowdy said, "May God bless Lenoir Hall."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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