U. of Florida limits campus pizza giveaways by Domino's franchisee

April 11, 2002

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Office of Student Activities (OSA) at the University of Florida is tightening restrictions on pizza donations from the town's only Domino's Pizza franchisee.

According to the Gator Times, an independent student newspaper, the conflict between the university and franchisee Freddie Wehbe stems from an April 4 letter from Lohse Beeland, director of student activities at Florida. The letter asked Domino's to remove its trailer from campus, and stated that any giveaway be done in compliance with campus rules. UF policy states that donated food be distributed by students, rather than donors, and from tables rather than tents or vehicles.

"With the trailer, it was implying that they [Domino's staff] would actually be cooking and/or heating the food there, and that becomes very problematic when we already have contracts on who is providing food to our students, faculty and staff at The University of Florida," Beeland told the Times.

Wehbe said he's concerned that the OSA is moving against him at the request of contracted food vendors on campus.

"The businesses, I guess, don't want us there," Wehbe said. "I understand, but then let them donate the food."

Beeland agreed somewhat, and said, "it does become a concern because it does effect the sales within the building."

Beeland's letter to Smith said Florida appreciated Domino's donations, but that all food donors must comply with campus rules.

Wehbe interpreted the statement differently. "I think the message right now is, 'Stay away from campus.' "

Next week, however, he'll be back, handing out pizza at more than 10 campus events. And he said he'll continue doing so until Domino's is asked to leave for good.

"As an owner, I can do two things," Wehbe began. "I can say, 'OK, I can't do this anymore,' and I can save myself a lot of money. Or I can stand by my principles ... ."

A meeting to discuss the distribution of donated food items on campus and how that affects contracted food vendors is scheduled for April 22. Representatives of the UF Business Services department, the Office of Administrative Affairs and the OSA will be present.

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