Callahan Dining Hall

Courtesy of Nick Grace Photography

Endicott College recently released multiple statements regarding a stomach-related illness that was affecting multiple students in the Endicott community.

The initial statement was sent out through email on March 23 by Marlin Nabors, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students at Endicott College.

He explained that he received multiple reports from students and families that they had dealt with multiple stomach-related illnesses. Nabors noted that the students originally believed the illnesses came from the food they ate.

The College’s Health Services office looked into the concern, he said, and at the time it was regarded as a common stomach-related illness that was affecting students at Endicott.

He asserted during that first email that the stomach-illnesses had no connection with food items served or eaten at Endicott’s dining facilities.

Nabors advised Endicott students to follow the same COVID-19 protocols they were used to, such as washing their hands and cleaning surfaces. He also encouraged students who were not feeling well to get in contact with Endicott’s Heath Services.

“Remember to stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, and be in communication with your faculty if your illness may impact your ability to attend classes,” said Nabors in the statement sent on March 23. “We’re hopeful you’ll continue to take care of yourselves and each other.”

Nabors sent another email regarding the stomach-related illnesses on March 26, an update on the situation in which students who were affected presented themselves at Beverly Hospital and the Endicott Health Center.

The Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students said they had coordinated communication with the Office of Health Services, Sodexo Dining Services, the Beverly Board of Health, and Beverly Hospital.

He explained that by using all accessible data, health experts concluded that the illnesses presumably came from a “stomach bug” and not an illness from food.

“Stomach viruses can often present in a similar form to food-related illnesses, however, through

tracing reports and using the expertise of our medical staff, meaningful distinctions point to an

uncomfortable and transmissible stomach virus,” said Nabors in the written statement on March

26.

He again urged Endicott students to follow the same safety precautions as with COVID-19, and

if they were again feeling unwell they should contact Endicott’s Health Services.

On March 31, a petition was created by an anonymous Endicott student regarding the subject of the school’s dining facilities. The link was posted in the profile of Barstool Endicott, a notable Instagram account that talks about the school.

In it, they noted past incidents they found regarding Sodexo Dining Services and food-bourne illnesses. As of April 8, the petition had 857 signatures.

“Endicott College needs to take accountability for the risks and concerns and begin taking steps towards a healthier change - and that begins with rectifying the issues revolving the Sodexo company and giving the students food that they actually want to eat (and isn't a risk to their health),” said the student in the online petition,.

The school responded to this concern in an email update on April 1. This time, the statement came from Bryan Cain, Vice President of Student and External Engagement.

Cain noted that they had been made aware of these worries, and that the heath of Endicott students has always been and remains the most important aspect for the college. He said that the concerns have been taken seriously.

“While initial concerns around foodborne illness were determined to be false, this sparked a broader conversation around food quality and safety,” said Cain in the statement released on April 1.

As a response, Cain explained that Endicott has launched a food safety review, working with Campus Dining Services, the Beverly Board of Health, and Endicott Health Services. He said they will be continuing to keep an eye on the situation.

Endicott aims to give healthy and enjoyable dining experiences, Cain noted, and that if there’s any issues regarding food items on campus, students should inform the staff and manager at the location as well as Paul Belski, Director of Dining Services, at 978-232-2110.

If you are feeling ill, please contact Health Services at 978-232-2104. If you are experiencing an emergency, please contact Public Safety at 978-232-1111.