Columbia University students call dining hall policies 'arbitrary and racist'



Getty/ Mario Tama

A student group on campus at Columbia University and dining workers claim the University has racist policies in place that must be amended.

A petition at Columbia University has been circulating this week accusing the school's dining hall of discriminating against workers for speaking Spanish.


The petition was co-written by Student Worker Solidarity (SWS), a student group on campus, and Columbia Dining Workers.

The petition claims that in the past, Dunn forbade dining workers from speaking in Spanish in the presence of students and forced workers to eat in a nearby closet during their break, rather than in front of students in the lounge.

Columbia dining continues "to discriminate against workers for speaking Spanish," according to the petition addressed Columbia dining's executive director Vicki Dunn.

The demands on the petition are as follows:


1. Columbia dining appears to have temporarily reversed the closet rule, but continue to discriminate against workers for speaking Spanish. This must cease immediately.

2. We as students demand that Columbia administration stop using individual student complaints to justify racist and degrading policies such as the prohibition of specific languages and the relegation of workers to cramped and unsanitary spaces.

3. Workers ask that from now on, all new workplace policies be written down, publicly visible, and negotiated with their unions so as to prevent continued abuses.

SWS and dining workers allege that Columbia University uses the complaints of anonymous students to support their policy decisions. They take aim at this supposed tactic, saying that it is just a convenient excuse for the university to justify its decisions.

"This shouldn't be happening in student's names, own your own decision, don't try to pin this on students," an Anonymous Columbia Dining Worker, is quoted as saying on the petition.


We have reached out to Columbia University for comment on the allegations in the petition and will update this post when if hear back.

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