Stop Aramark: Students Continue to Protest the 10 Year contract

In a demonstration led by the BSU, many showed up to denounce the university’s deal with Aramark. Photo by Brenda Sanchez-Barrera.

By Brenda Sanchez-Barrera, Editor-in-Chief and Leah Quintero, Managing Editor

The Black Student Union (BSU) organized a peaceful protest Nov. 10 at the LSU Palm Courtyard where members of the campus community voiced their concerns over the California State University, Dominguez Hills $10 million 10-year contract with Aramark Corp., an American food, facilities and uniform service provider. 

“The goal of this protest is to put pressure on the university and Aramark to reconsider the 10 year contract,” Terrie Kennon, BSU president, said at the protest. “There is power in numbers and we want the university to see that. We want the university to see that the campus community is more than willing to come together against this issue.” 

Aramark has been criticized for its partnerships with 38% of the country’s prison facilities, poor food quality, lack of accessibility for people with disabilities and numerous health and safety violations. The company’s contract with CSUDH began on July 1. 

Since then, students have spoken up about the continuous digestive problems they’ve experienced that have left them ill for hours and some even days. 

“I start eating [the chicken strips] and I feel nasty. My stomach starts hurting,” Robert Cummingham, director of student services for Associated Students, Inc. (ASI), recounted his last experience eating from the DH Sports Lounge. 

He said at first he chose to brush off the warnings from his stomach and decided since he paid for the chicken strips he might as well eat them only to later find out that Aramark recycles their leftover food instead of giving it back to the community for free which Cummingham believes is what should be done instead.  

According to Cummingham, any food that was cooked and did not get sold the day it was made, is saved, reheated and resold the next day for new customers. 

“The school that we attend should be providing food that sustains our health,” Kennon said. 

The company’s mistreatment of its workers was also brought up during the protest. 

“I see a lot of international students working for Aramark dining services. When they speak up about mistreatment at their place of employment on campus, they get their hours reduced,” Cunningham said. 

Allegations against Aramarks mistreatment range from sexual misconduct, racism, unethical employee termination, health code violations and more. 

Students had previously hoped to see CSUDH administrators make an effort to address their concerns after the Aramark Town Hall meeting held on Oct. 3, but more than a month later, they still have not heard a response. 

“As of right now, there has been no public record of the university’s efforts to remove Aramark from this campus, despite being aware of the reports made by students,” Kennon said. 

In response, the BSU created a petition to stop the Aramark contract and has so far garnered more than 300 signatures. In the upcoming week, on Nov. 15 at 12 p.m., located in the Innovation and Instruction building, the university will hold another town hall meeting to further discuss the Aramark decision.