About 140 employees of Colby College’s dining services program are expected to be rehired by a new food management company at the college after an announcement Wednesday that Colby is switching dining services providers.

The college will partner with California-based Bon Apetit Management Co. for food services effective July 1, according to a news release on the school’s website.

The change follows debate about Colby’s dining services contract with Sodexo, a French company that has offices in Portland, that expired this year. At least one student group, United for Better Dining Services, has voiced opposition to Sodexo, including at a student sit-in in November aimed at improving working conditions for Sodexo workers, according to the group’s Facebook page.

On Wednesday, Sodexo filed notice with the Department of Labor that it would no longer provide dining services for Colby after June 30.

Food service staff members at Colby College have been notified that they will be laid off at the end of the school year while the college transitions to a new food service vendor, according to the notice filed with the Department of Labor.

Julie Rabinowitz, spokeswoman for the department, said companies are required to file a notice of mass layoffs to affected municipalities and the state under the terms of the federal WARN Act.

However, it’s likely the people who are laid off will be rehired by the new vendor, she said.

“Food service employees in colleges are frequently laid off when the school year ends, usually with a rehire start date for late August,” Rabinowitz said in an email. “In this case, because there is a new vendor in the fall, there is no rehire date and a WARN was required.”

The college announced its plans to contract with Bon Apetit on Wednesday and said in its statement that Bon Apetit “is offering employment to all hourly employees subject to satisfactory completion of the company’s employment process.”

The 146 positions include jobs such as barista, baker, executive chef and wait staff.

“The Sodexo employees are members of our community, and throughout the process, their future was prominent in our discussions,” said Douglas Terp, Colby’s vice president for administration and chief financial officer in the statement online. Human resources personnel from Bon Appétit have been on campus to help employees make a comfortable transition, it said.

Kate Carlisle, director of communications for Colby, said in an interview Wednesday night that she is not sure whether in past years Sodexo employees have remained on campus over the summer.

Ruth Jacobs Jackson, vice president of communications for Colby, did not return a call seeking comment late Wednesday.

“My understanding is when a company is going to be releasing workers, they have to let the municipality and the state know that this is a thing that is happening,” Carlisle said. “In the case of Sodexo and Bon Apetit, it is my impression it is going to be a seamless transition and there are Bon Apetit human resources folks on campus helping employees through that transition.”

Bon Apetit was chosen after a months-long selection process that included widespread community input, was based on the quality of proposed programs, including the board plan, catering, and retail food; commitment to campus engagement and superior service; commitment to shared values including being a responsible employer, local sourcing and sustainability, management and organizational capacity; and understanding of Colby and a demonstrated commitment to excellence, according to the statement on Colby’s website.

The Portland Press Herald contributed to this report.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

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Twitter: @rachel_ohm