UM visitors find a surprise in the vending machines

A group of friends who were visiting UM for a quick tour stopped to grab some coffee and ended up finding roaches and crickets laden with feces floating in their coffee cup.

Vikas Johari, a former international student at UM, brought three of his friends to campus during spring break. When they stopped for some coffee at the automatic-pour vending machine in Hecht, they found two dead insects along with half a dozen droppings in what they thought would be a fresh cup of coffee from the machine.

“I was embarrassed for myself, for my friend and for the University,” Johari said.

Sean Sheikh, visiting from Miami University in Ohio with Johari, said he came to UM with plans of possibly transferring but will definitely reconsider.

“The moment my eyes fell upon that cup, I was momentarily put away,” Sheikh said. “I stared at myself in the reflection of the vending machine and I saw that I was ghost-white. I felt disgusted and disgruntled.”

Johari and Sheikh filed a complaint with an RA at Hecht, whom they say was as shocked as they were.

Residence Halls administration say they are adamant about addressing these types of issues immediately, ensuring that student health is a priority.

“Anytime something as severe as that comes to my attention, I definitely call the right person – especially when it comes to bugs. I would have had a fit,” said Cynthia Silvarrey, administrative assistant for Hecht. “There’s no reason why disgusting things should be floating around in anything that’s sold through the vending machines.”

Lazaro Sauzo, area manager for Diloreto & Sons, the company that owns and maintains the machine, was on site trying to get to the root of the problem.

“We’re inspecting the machine to see where the problem could have come from,” Sauzo said. “We’re throwing the product in the garbage and replacing it all.”

Sauzo said the machine would have an out-of-order sign posted until it was completely emptied, sanitized and cleaned out.

The Miami Hurricane contacted Mel Tenen, director of Auxiliary Services for UM, and asked for his opinion on the situation. He was surprised to hear of the incident and claimed it was the first he had heard of it.

“We’re responsible for over 400 machines on campus, including vending and laundry, and we count on folks letting us know,” Tenen said. “I personally get involved with these things – it’s not something I delegate.”

Tenen also said the coffee machine in Hecht is checked three times per week.

At 10 a.m. last Wednesday, however, there was a maintenance worker clean

March 26, 2004


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.