On the evening of Monday, November 23, members of the Scripps College community came together to participate in a forum on institutionalized racism hosted by interim President Amy Marcus-Newhall. At the forum, a group of Scripps students who have been active in the recent anti-racist movements on campus presented a thorough list of demands to be carried out by the senior staff. Getting Sodexo out of Malott was one of the twelve demands.
The following was read aloud to Scripps students, faculty, staff, and administrators during the forum:
We Demand: That Scripps stop contracting SODEXO and begin providing Living Wages to all staff.
Failure: SODEXO has a history of underpaying their employees and denying workers’ rights. They are a major investor in the privatization of prisons in Europe. In 2005, there was a class action lawsuit for racial discrimination in the workplace which resulted in a $80 million settlement. They have a long history of overcharging clients, being anti-union, and violating food and safety standards. Other colleges stopped using SODEXO to protest its unjust and unsafe practices. At the 5C’s, Pitzer, CMC, and Pomona have stopped using SODEXO and have now switched to other contractors/self-service.
Staff at Scripps are not paid living wages, and we cannot assume that the living wage is based on one adult supporting themselves. Living wages need to take into consideration the location (as Claremont has high costs of living) and family situations. Many of our staff must support families, and they deserve to be paid enough to do so. Scripps also hires some staff part-time so that they do not receive benefits and this practice only perpetuates institutional complicity in classism and racism.
Story: CORE 1 has taught us about the harm and violence that the Prison Industrial Complex disproportionately puts onto communities of color, particularly Black folks. This switch away from SODEXO allows Scripps to remain accountable to the standardized curriculum it is teaching to its students. In addition, Scripps advocates for its students to challenge sexism in the workplace and close the wage gap, but this institution is dependent on underpaid women, especially women of color. Paying staff a living wage which allows them to support their families will hold Scripps accountable to advocating for gender equity in the workplace for all women, particularly women of color who are affected the most negatively by the wage gap.
Reiterate Demand: Scripps will switch to another food service (such as Bon Appetit, which is used at CMC and Pitzer). Scripps will make sure that every staff employee is paid a more accurate living wage.
Applause ensued. We hope that this strategic moment, coordinating the goals of our project with the current campus climate, will effect immediate and comprehensive change.
Read more about Scripps students’ list of demands for senior staff:
This college takes immense pride in its food. It’s part of Scripps’ overall obsession with perpetuating this perfect image of all these happy students frolicking around orange trees and pools. What’s beneath is far from perfect.
Students with dietary restrictions potentially don’t know what’s in the food they’re eating.
Students don’t know where their food comes from.
Students don’t have a choice when it comes to meals.
We have a students’ rights issue.
Sodexo isn’t just far from perfect, it’s about as far from perfect as a dining hall service could be.
Eating at Malott forces students to support a corporation that benefits from the prison-industrial complex and paid $80 million to settle a class action lawsuit about racial discrimination, among other atrocities.
We have a social responsibility issue.
The most visible sustainability initiative undergone by Malott in the past year is the discontinuation of the table tents (flyers on the middle of the dining hall tables). Bon Appétit has been sourcing at least 20% of each meal it serves from within 150 miles since 1999.
We have a sustainability issue.
To avoid having allergic reactions, many students limit themselves to eating the same foods for each meal because the labeling cannot be trusted and there are not sufficient options.