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Students boycott cafe in protest at prices

Buzz Off: Student Council vice president Stephen Lightbourne, left, and president Antonio Belvedere sit outside Buzz cafe on the Bermuda College campus. Students are boycotting the cafe amid complaints about the prices.

Bermuda College students staged a mass boycott of their campus cafeteria in a protest over prices yesterday.According to Stephen Lightbourne, vice president of the student council, the action against the Buzz cafe will continue today.Protest leaders handed out free pizza to those who supported the boycott of the eatery, which is part of a commercial chain.Mr Lightbourne said: “The student council had complaints from part-time and full-time students about the prices. We’ve had a few talks to see if we could work out some sort of student discount or meal plan, but nothing has gone through, and last week they raised their prices again. That made the students angry.”Mr Lightbourne said some full-time students rely on the venue for three meals a day. However, it costs $12 to $15 just to get a panini and soda, which some can ill afford.He estimated that 300 to 350 students the majority of the college population plus 50 to 80 staff members took part in the protest.“We gave out a lot of free pizza,” he said. “We’ve only seen probably two or three people that have bought from Buzz today. We had lots of good support from everyone. We are definitely going to try to keep it going for as long as possible until we resolve something with Buzz; maybe more specials or maybe some type of discount. We will need donations from people to keep going.”Buzz has a string of cafes across the island, and is in the second year of a two-year contract with the college. A spokesman for the chain said a meeting is scheduled with the college authorities on Thursday morning.“The student body has not given warning or notice of this, they have just done it,” he alleged. “This is not really the way to go about things.”He said Buzz is keen to resolve the dispute for the sake of all involved, but no further comment would be possible until after the meeting.