Science Quad vending machine removal reveals illegality

Ella Persky, Web News Editor and Co-Business Manager


The vending machine located between the Science Quad and the Back Parking Lot has been removed from campus more than six years after its installation, in order to maintain compliance with state law.

The machine was originally installed in 2016 as an initiative led by former student Sam Rubinstein. It was the only vending machine that accepted credit cards, providing students access to snacks ranging from Oreos and potato chips to aloe vera water.

​​“The vending machine is kind of like a statement that the administration is on our side and is looking out for our best interests,” Rubinstein said in 2016.

Photo by Naina Srivastava

However, over the past few months, the vending machine’s presence on campus has caused a variety of issues. According to Principal Dr. Glazer, School Bookkeeper Edwienna Grant was constantly fielding complaints from students about the machine’s malfunctions.

Glazer said she has seen instances where the machine charged students almost $30 for an item, who then had to wait 24 to 48 hours to get their money back.

Those incidents, in tandem with additional complaints, prompted an investigation into the machine’s sales.

“We found out that a private entity that had no affiliation to the school was profiting from sales, which is not allowed,” Glazer said. “With that information on hand, I had no choice but to remove the machine from our school.”

Staff also found out that the snacks in the machine did not meet the School Nutrition guidelines set by the California Department of Education, which limits the type of snacks a school can provide. After further inspection, it was determined that the machine’s presence on campus was illegal and could not be continued.

Students often create long lines to the vending machines during brunch and lunch so the machine’s removal hasn’t gone without protest.

Junior Miles Zinn heard about the machine’s removal over the morning announcements on Monday, and said he felt that there was a “collective frustration” in the classroom after the announcement.

“I think the biggest problem is that we don’t actually have a spot to get drinks on campus,” Zinn said. “The school does not provide adequate beverages, and our water is disgusting.”

Zinn is not alone in his views, as only hours after the announcement, a petition was created with hopes to “re-add the vending machine or provide better snacks.”

The petition has garnered over 300 signatures at the time of publishing. There have been various reports of students posing as school staff members, including Assistant Principal Jon Robell. Robell confirmed that he is not in support of the petition.

The petition description states that the school has no real reason to remove the machine, as it is favored by everyone and would be “smoldering the voices” of the students.

“Once the other privately-owned vending machine is removed from its current location, we will work with the district to see if adding additional ones will be feasible,” Glazer said.