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Students want Sodexo out
Students recently sent a petition to President Garrison’s office calling for the removal of Sodexo Dining Services from the UAB campus.
William Anderson authored the petition as well as the research that went into its creation.
“When I found out Sodexo was on UAB’s payroll, I looked into the company and discovered their poor history of human rights violation,” said Anderson.
“They are the worst possible place for food services. They are the Wal-Mart of dining services. They are the biggest and easiest to deal with so universities just go to them.”
The petition has been circulating on Facebook and as of this printing 156 people have signed it, the majority of which are UAB students.
“They are very poor on human rights and wages,” said Anderson.
“I just joined United Students Against Sweatshops, who are leading a campaign against Sodexo. They have created extensive reports on the wrongdoings of Sodexo, which is involved in everything that you would think an evil corporation would be involved in,” Anderson added.
UAB is not the only college with campus protests against Sodexo. Some have even filed lawsuits against the company.
Northeastern University recently removed Sodexo from their campus in Boston after a student-led protest.
Ohio State recently had 9 students arrested during a campus protest.
Anderson has said that he hopes protests on UAB’s campus will not need to be aggressive and that UAB will listen intently to their stance against Sodexo.
“Students are not happy with the Dining Dollars and Blazer Bucks. A lot of students are unaware of how things are done for dining services. It’s all so that Sodexo can make profits. I don’t care about Sodexo making a profit, but I do care about being forced into a bad dining experience
with a corrupt company,” said Anderson.
“The workers here at UAB are content but are not exactly happy with the situation.
Internationally it is worse. Things aren’t that bad in the United States. It’s harder to get away with those kinds of things. They use legislation and bribes to get away with their dirty work in the U.S.,” said Anderson.
Recently the USGA passed a resolution in support of Sodexo.
“The USGA has passed a resolution of support with Sodexo. I personally stand with Sodexo and think the protestor’s goals are misguided,” said Brad Watts, the president of the USGA.
“Sodexo pays roughly nine dollars an hour to part time employees. They have a diverse staff and have adapted to students’ needs on campus,” Watts added.
The resolution states that Sodexo at UAB pays their employees $9.87 an hour and that during its six year history on campus it has sought to react to students’ needs and desires on campus and sought to improve the community of Birmingham as a whole with its 14 Commitments for a Better Tomorrow initiative. The resolution states that the USGA feels that Sodexo has adhered to those commitments during it’s time at UAB.
“They have been phenomenal in terms of commitment and engagement with the students. Personally, they have always been responsive to our requests. They responded well to the Student Forum concerns raised by students last semester,” said Watts.
“The protestors concerns about Sodexo internationally do not apply to Sodexo at UAB. They have made a commitment to building an inclusive campus. I don’t have any personal qualms with the protesters but I don’t agree with their aims. I don’t think any of the complaints of the protestors apply to Sodexo at UAB,” said Watts.
Watts is proud of the student voice being heard on campus and the passion of the students involved in the protest.
“Everyone’s voice and opinion can be heard at UAB and we can find a way to do what’s best for UAB. I would like to see an outcome where everyone is improved and all of this comes out for the better,”
Sodexo is responsible for nearly all of the dining services on campus, including Starbucks, Taco Bell and Chik-Fil-A according to Anderson.
“UAB has the chance to take a stand to get Sodexo off of campus and hold them responsible for their actions. That would be huge. UAB is huge. It’s not that hard; look at Samford—they have their own private dining services,” said Anderson of his goal for the protest. He added that it would likely be a long, drawn out process.
“We are organizing against UAB dealing business with such a despicable company. It’s like doing business with the mob while toting how diverse and happy your campus is,” said Anderson.
Anderson addressed the University administration. “I’m really disappointed with the way you are spending my money, you can do a lot better.”
To students he had this to say: “We have to question things. Ask where the money is going; ask why we are using Sodexo. Don’t be scared. This is what you are supposed to do.
“Students have hearts and compassion, when they find out about this stuff they want to change it,” Anderson added.
What do you think about Sodexo? Let us know your thoughts at studentmedia.uab.edu or write in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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