Hundreds have signed a petition accusing Lancaster University of “profiting” from self-isolating students by charging them £17.95-a day to have meals delivered.
The opt-in deal comprises of three prepared meals, including a cold breakfast, cold lunch and an evening meal which is to be heated.
The deal is supposed to be a potential option for students who are self-isolating due to the coronavirus pandemic, but an analysis by student reporters at the Tab Lancaster found that the ingredients cost less than £3 per portion.
“These parcels… are the only practical way for many to get supplies, given a shortage of delivery slots,” the petition, started by Kyle Westrip on Change.org, states.
“By charging such extortionate prices for supplies, lancaster university is adding an additional layer of hardship to an already deeply unpleasant situation.
“Charging unacceptably high rates for food delivery will exacerbate the health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, making those with symptoms less likely to isolate, and more likely to break the rules.
“It is also disadvantaging already vulnerable groups; many international students lack any cookware and will be forced to use this service, and many more have disabilities which prevent them from safely receiving online deliveries.”
A document shared by the university shows the set menu, with meals such as beef casserole available for dinner, wraps for lunch and pancakes for breakfast.
Lancaster University said that the price had “deliberately been set below normal dining-in restaurant and cafe offer, despite additional costs of delivery and disposable containers”.
It added that the university had provided students with information regarding alternatives such as supermarket delivery, and said they had kept the price as low as possible without compromising on quality.