Letter to the Editor: Eagle Dining is not accepting of diversity


By Petra Ehlers, senior legal studies major

Aramark does not represent the diversity or inclusiveness of the University of Southern Mississippi environment. As such should not be allowed to serve the University of Southern Mississippi or the diverse student body on campus. I back this opinion up with several facts that the company Aramark continues to repeat the same actions. The company is not sensitive to the student body and needs to promote a diverse positive learning environment.

On February 23,2018, for Black History Month at the New York University, Aramark served the student body Red Kool-Aid, Watermelon water, collard greens, and ribs. That time, it took a student writing the Deans of New York University to finally get Aramark to act on the issues addressed to them.

This time, Aramark claims to be inclusive at the University of Southern Mississippi. But this time, when it comes to dealing with the student body that has anxiety, autism, or eating disorders or other disabilities, the Eagle Dining staff on campus seems to think that those are not big enough issues to worry about.

Someone from Eagle Dining management said, “If I do it for one student, I got to do it for all students.” Okay, I can understand taking that stance. Then why do the football players get steak to eat when the regular student body gets to eat pizza and some other comfort food? If the football players are eating steak, then all students should be. This is the issue I run into dealing with the Eagle Dining management on campus. They treat the student body as the red headed stepchild as the student body that supports them is treated to the trash food.  When will University of Southern Mississippi stop selling the student body out to the commission that Eagle Dining pays them to keep the contract at the University of Southern Mississippi?

If Eagle Dining were to honor the USM pledge, they would recognize the different needs of the student body. Some students cannot deal with the loud environment of the Fresh. Some students have PTSD from being sexually assaulted and have a hard time being in an environment that is triggering. Some students have anxiety that prevents them being able to handle the stress of the Fresh. Some students that have autism need a quiet environment to not have sensory overload like I have.  The college experience as Casey from the Fresh Management told me he wanted all university students to have the University experience.  Well, that experience is ruined due to the fact that every time I must enter the Fresh, I stress out and takes me a day to just recover.