Aramark, Hamilton Address Students in Fallout of Black History Month Meal

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Echo Chen

Downstein Dining Hall, home to ’90s and early 2000’s throwback songs. (Photo by Echo Chen)

By Sayer Devlin, Managing Editor

NYU President Andrew Hamilton sent an email to the NYU community this evening addressing the Black History Month meal served in Weinstein Passport Dining Hall last Tuesday. In the email, he shared a letter from an Aramark executive saying that the company would implement “cultural competency training” for all of its NYU employees.

Hamilton said NYU would consider other possible food service providers when Aramark’s contract expires in August. In making the decision, Hamilton said student’s input would be considered and that the students who questioned the meal were right to do so.

“Some students of African descent who saw the meal took to social media to express their concern; their posts went viral,” Hamilton’s email read. “A backlash has followed, with insults and threats aimed at the students. But, the fact is, the students who brought to light the insensitive and thoughtless drink offerings had every right to question how they came to be served.”

Hamilton also shared a letter from Victor Crawford, one of Aramark’s chief operating officers, confirming that two managers acted on their own in planning the menu.

“They did not consult with Aramark, with NYU, or with any student or other groups at NYU, and acted against the instructions Aramark had issued,” Crawford said in the letter. “The inclusion of watermelon-infused water among the offerings, with its clear history of negative stereotyping and connotation vis a vis the African American community, was particularly egregious and offensive.”

Crawford also confirmed that Aramark fired the two managers on their own without input from NYU or NYU students.

Email Sayer Devlin at [email protected]