FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14: Bermuda College students are to boycott a campus café in a protest over prices.

Buzz café is run by a private chain and students will give it a miss on Monday to highlight disapproval of its pricing policy.

The café says its prices merely reflect the cost of doing business in Bermuda and that it will continue working with students to resolve the issue. 

On Monday, student representatives will hand out free pizza to people supporting the boycott.

Stephen Lightbourne, vice-president of the college students’ association, said: “We’ve held meetings with Buzz to see if they could work out some sort of student discount or lower prices.

“We’ve had a lot of complaints about their prices — we had a petition last year, but nothing has worked.

“They raised their prices last year — we didn’t get a discount or lowered prices. Instead, they raised prices again last week.”

A spokesman for Buzz said: “We’ve been absorbing price increases for a long time. Everybody knows that what cost $100 in the supermarkets a year ago now costs $116.

“We had to increase our prices — it’s not that we’re greedy, it’s what we have to do to stay in business.”

And he said that Buzz executives would be contacting the students at Bermuda College today to try and reach a compromise.

Mr Lightbourne said a panini and a soda at Buzz cost between $12 and $15 — which ate into the budgets of cash-strapped students quickly.

He added that many students did not have jobs – and that some, due to long hours, needed breakfast, lunch and dinner on site.

Mr Lightbourne said: “We’re looking for support from all our students as well as from part-time students. There will be free pizza, although people will be encouraged to make a donation to the Student Government Council.”

Buzz, which operates several restaurants and cafes in Hamilton and around Bermuda, is halfway through a two-year contract to provide catering at the Paget campus.

Mr Lightbourne said: “We’re looking for everyone’s support on this so we can see some results. Buzz has a contract, so they’re the only people who can sell food in the college.

“If we don’t get any results, we’ll push for a different company or restaurant to get the contract at the end of Buzz’s.”

The Buzz spokesman added: “I know that the college is a difficult situation because there are a lot of young people. We’ve tried unsuccessfully with the board of trustees of Bermuda College to get a board outside the college on South Shore Road to let people know there is a Buzz in the college.

“If we were allowed to do that, the other customers from outside the college would help support the student customers — that was our original intention, but we can’t do that.

“We will be in touch with the student government and see what we can sort out with them.”