Pete Merritt, the food service director for ARAMARK Higher Education who ran Huden dining hall, resigned from his post at Castleton State College at the end of last month.His resignation comes in the wake of a public physical altercation with freshman Doug Phillips on Feb. 7. ARAMARK representatives refused to comment on Merritt’s resignation or any possible reason for the director’s sudden departure.
Dennis Proulx, dean of students and Castleton liaison to ARAMARK, said that the school did not push for a resignation in light of the incident.
“If we thought an employee was a threat to our community, we have the obligation to ban them,” Proulx said. “I don’t think the events warranted anyone being banned.”
Many students at Castleton State see Merritt’s resignation as the capstone of long brooding trouble with the dining hall manager. JoAnna Doolan, a former student employee of Huden dining hall under Merritt’s tenure, said he wasn’t well-liked.
“Everyone hated Pete. Not because he didn’t run the place well, he was just a jerk,” Doolan said.
Merritt, workers said, created a fairly hostile work environment for employees, frequently reprimanding them in public rather than privately speaking with them.
“The way he spoke to workers was very condescending,” said Doolan.
But not all students had negative things to say about Merritt’s management, though. Jordan Deschler praised Merritt for his commitment to the Sustainability Club and commitment to use Castleton-grown produce from our own Colonial Garden.
As of this printing, no successor has been named for Merritt’s position, which is temporarily being filled by Lauren Mohann, assistant services manager.