Aramark Loses Its Mark – Brandeis Dining to Be Headed Up By Sodexo starting July

This e-mail re new Brandeis Dining Service partner Sodexo was sent to Brandeis Staff and Faculty earlier today (Thursday June the 20th)

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Brandeis University is pleased to announce that we have selected Sodexo as our new campus dining partner. Beginning July 1, 2013, Sodexo will begin managing and operating Dining Services on campus.  

Sodexo’s commitment to excellent customer service, customer satisfaction, local & sustainable foods, and food-forward innovation make them a welcome addition to our campus. Their culinary team will bring a passion for fresh food and catering excellence to campus. Some of the new offerings you will see on campus will include: Starbucks, Russo’s Market, and the first Guy Fieri on Campus located in New England.

Over the coming weeks, Sodexo and Brandeis will share more specific information about meal plans, dining hours, new food formats, events and other information. 

Please join me in welcoming our new Resident District Manager of Dining Services, Jay Degioia. You can reach Jay at ext. 64276 or email jdegioia@brandeis.edu

If you have other questions or would like additional information, please contact Mark Collins at 64435 or emailcollins@brandeis.edu

Thank you,

Ellen de Graffenreid

Senior Vice President for Communications

 

So, this is huge! Students have been criticizing and campaigning against Aramark for years (decades?) because of the quality of their food as well as their ideological stances (human rights vi, underpaid employees, etc). Does anyone out there have opinions on/knowledge of Sodexo? Do we know what's going to be happening to the Aramark workers?

I will be researching them, feel free to comment or e-mail in tips (tips @ innermostparts.org). For now, here's the "Controversies" section of their Wikipedia page:

"There have been at least nine boycotts of Sodexo, for varying reasons: at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, at the American University in Washington D.C., and at Université Laval in Quebec City, at Binghamton University in New York, and Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, at DePauw University in Indiana, Hollins University in Roanoke, VirginiaEmory University in Atlanta, Georgia,[13][14][15] at Nordea banks in Finland, at the University of Tampere, Finland and at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.[16] At DePauw University the students protested against Sodexo's alleged low pay, former investment in private prison businesses, and the lack of local food options.[17]

At the Nordea banks the issue was a cut in wages after Sodexo took over the bank's workplace food services.[18][19] After a successful boycott, the wages were raised.[20]

In 2009, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) launched a United States nationwide campaign against Sodexo with their stated objective of improving wage and job standards. In 2010, the SEIU recruited students at many U.S. colleges to support strikes and demonstrations in protest of Sodexo's alleged unfair labor practices including anti-union behavior and paying low wages. [21][22] Although one series of strikes at the University of Pittsburgh led to the negotiation of higher wages and lower cost health insurance plans for the cafeteria workers,[23][24][25] none of the Sodexo accounts targeted by the SEIU have unionized or even requested an election vote. According to a statement from Sodexo, the SEIU engaged in a smear campaign in an effort to drive out rival labor unions that have traditionally operated in the foodservice industry as well as for general publicity.[26]

Sodexo filed a lawsuit in March 2011 under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act accusing the SEIU of "engaging in illegal tactics in its effort to unionize workers".[27] During the trial, it was revealed that the SEIU had written and distributed a manual to its staff detailing how “outside pressure can involve jeopardizing relationships between the employer and lenders, investors, stockholders, customers, clients, patients, tenants, politicians, or others on whom the employer depends for funds.” Tactics recommended include references to blackmail, extortion, accusations of racism and sexism, and targeting the homes and neighborhoods of business leaders for demonstrations.[28] Following the court discovery of this document, SEIU agreed to terminate their public campaign focused on Sodexo and the charges against SEIU were dropped.[29]

In May 2011, 27 University of Washington students were arrested during a sit in at the University's administrative offices for protesting the University's concessions contract with Sodexo.[30]Shortly after, on May 19, another 13 students were arrested under similar circumstances.[31]

All of the frozen beef products used by Sodexo in the UK were withdrawn on 22 February 2013 following the discovery of horse DNA in a sample.[32] The company supplies 2,300 institutions, including schools, old-age people homes, prisons and branches of the armed forces within the UK.[32]"

RMS Senator Election Results

We have them late, but we do have them:

Rank Candidate Votes %
1 Jean Souffrant 62 77.50
2 ABSTAIN 12 15.00
3 Martin Luther King Jr 1 1.25
3 Neda Eid 1 1.25
3 Gideon Klionsky 1 1.25
3 Usman Hameedi 1 1.25
3 Dan Ding 1 1.25
3 Jonathan Ringvald 1 1.25
9 Denise fernandez 0 0.00

Congratulations to Senator JV Souffrant.

Respect

I just got around to reading the Justice’s article about the State of the Union today, and one thing in particular really jumped out at me:

“I think his speech was one of the most outstanding you can imagine from a student leader,” said Rena Olshansky ’56, a member of the Board of Trustees’ Students and Enrollment Committee, who said that it was her first State of the Union address. Commenting on the Union Rena said, “I think the [students] set their agenda, and that’s important.”

University Provost Marty Krauss, who attended the speech, said in an interview with the Justice, “[Gray] has a tremendous amount of respect among the members of the administration because he’s a mature person; he’s diplomatic; he thinks about the perspectives of many constituencies; he’s smart; and he makes really good recommendations, and he gets things done.”

Senior Vice President of Communications Lorna Miles, who also attended, added that Gray “has been incredibly vital; his legacy is having created a consciousness in the University among the administration and the faculty that students are part of the day-to-day governance of this community.”

That’s an incredible amount of respect for Jason Gray coming from the administrators and trustees who attended the speech.  We’ve already heard the great praise that Jason gets from the student body, and it’s really satisfying to know that the other members of the Brandeis community feel the same way.

This kind of universal acclaim is impressive enough on its own, but I find it even more impressive when viewed in the context of the content of Jason’s address.  The speech was not tailor-made to draw praise from the administrators.  Several times, Jason challenged the University to meet goals that he set, and he wasn’t afraid to call the administration out on several mistakes.  Most notably, he directly stated, “[T]here is no doubt that the Rose Art Museum has become a case study in what not to do procedurally.”  Isn’t that hard-hitting?

So what does all this mean?  First, it says something very positive about our administrators.  By praising the speech so effusively, they’re letting us know that student participation is not incumbent on our complete deference to their decisions.  They are willing to have a dialogue with us, allow our disagreement, and even to admit mistakes and work towards changing them.

But it also says so much about Jason himself.  He has the rare ability to say exactly what needs to be said while striking the right chord for every party involved.  This didn’t just happen overnight; it is the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work, determined advocacy, and appreciation for everyone’s point of view, and it shows what big shoes our next Union leaders will have to fill.  Ultimately, Jason’s greatest success might be that he was able to treat every single Brandeisian with respect, and it should be no suprise that he has received so much respect in return.

Complete State of the Union Text

If you couldn’t make Jason Gray’s final State of the Union on Tuesday, then you missed out on a very good speech.  Thankfully, Innermost Parts is here for you again (Have we ever let you down before?  Don’t answer that…).  Below the fold is the complete text of the speech, titled “Looking Forward: Student Involvement, Student Rights, and Student Advocacy”.  I’ll have more thoughts on the speech itself and several key points from it in the next few days, but for now, I encourage even those who already saw it to peruse it again and get an idea of what the Union has done this semester and what is still ahead.

Continue reading “Complete State of the Union Text”