Demand Berklee to End All Contracts with Aramark

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Divestment Proposal to Berklee

Here are the primary goals of this petition (taken from Emilie Morris's petition to USF here):

1. End all contracts and all ties with Aramark on all Berklee campuses.

2. Do not replace Aramark with the other two "Big 3" food services providers in America - Sodexo and the Compass Group (and others like them).

3. Investigate and research food service providers with a history of quality and fresh foods, fair and equitable treatment of their employees, and no association with companies, complexes, or systems that contribute to the systemic racism so many citizens are currently protesting against. Make sure the process to transition is transparent and community-driven.


3. Establish Berklee's own university-run dining services with more health-conscious and locally-sourced food along with a food service workers union to secure fair treatment for employees. Make sure the process to transition is transparent and community-driven.

Boston College, through their FRESH To Table program, has produced amazing results in a "fairly traded, regional, equitable, sustainable, and healthy" dining system. It is a local model for Berklee to follow.

Real Food Challenge and Uprooted & Rising are great resources to aid Berklee in this transition to a more equitable dining program, one that is not to closely tied to modern-day slavery that is the prison industrial complex.

These changes will ultimately serve to benefit Berklee College of Music as an institution because the shadow that Aramark's history and reputation casts will no longer contradict the mission, vision, values, and principles Berklee and its community stands for. 

We understand the challenges and the amount of work that goes into providing dining services. Therefore, we, student activists, are dedicated to working with you, the Berklee administration, in making the most responsible and informed decisions about our dining policy moving forward. We urge that the administration work with us, as you move forward in divesting from Aramark and in curating an ethical dining system.



Below is the information provide by Instagram user @z.arabee on the brutality of Aramark's work and affiliations, which as also been documented in Ava DuVernay's documentary "13th":

*What is Aramark?

Aramark Corporation is an American food service, facilities, and uniform services provider based out of Philadelphia, PA. They are a main supplier of CoreCivic, one of the largest privately-funded prison systems in America. They also partner with over 600 college campuses, along with multiple US public school systems and international universities. So, what does this mean for you? Aramark is probably in your school's dining halls. 

*What's the Problem?

Aramark has a track record of being everything from simply problematic to egregiously unethical. Let me take you through a few of their failings. 

1. Private Prisons.*

Private prisons are a substantial problem in our country, of which I can only give a basic overview in this post. Private prisons capitalize on mass incarceration and because they seek to make a profit, they cut corners in staff training, facility upkeep, and other necessary costs that mitigate ricks to employees and inmates. And due to the systemic racism in our justice system, these corporations maintain their wealth through the disproportionate suffering of America's Black populations. 

*For more information on the problem with our prisons, I encourage you to check out 13th on Netflix. 

2. Unethical Practices

If you have Aramark in your dining halls, I'm sure you've noticed by now that the food if pretty subpar -- but its even worse in our prisons.

Aramark has been called out on countless occasions for underfeeding prisoners, supplying facilities with spoiled food due to poor storage, and giving inmates meals containing worms, dog food, maggots, and scraps from trashed food. In 2015, Michigan ended correctional facility contracts with Aramark a tear early for this very reason -- but across the US, Aramark continues to supply prisons, despitate inmate protests and riots.

And that does not event cover Aramark's international behavior. Aramark is directly involved in direct provision, the controversial housing system used for asylum seekers in the Republic of Ireland. These centers, run by Aramark, have been repeatedly called out for poor hygiene, food, adn living conditions, Asylum seeker shave compared their housing to prisons, which -- given what we know about prisons contracting with Aramark -- speaks for itself. 

3. Racist Actions

In 2018, Aramark was called out on multiple university campuses for their racist food display during Black History Month. At college such as NYU, Fordham, Loyola University Chicago, and Kent State, Aramark thought it was appropriate to serve fried chicken, Kool-Aid, collard greens, and other stereotypical "Black" foods. The following year, NYU ctu ties with Aramark -- after 43 years of contracting with the company. If they could do it, why can't we?

*Aramark's Response:

This part is a little tricky. Aramark;s responses to these failings have been all over the place. They have blatantly denied the claims, scapegoated employees, and attributed these reports to propaganda. In 2018, Aramark's Vice President of Communications Karen Cutler said of accusations, "There is a lot of misinformation and propaganda around Aramark... as a results o the Netflix documentary [13th] and ongoing activist..." She also denied prescience of infestation in correctional facilities. Despite the multiple lawsuit? I don't think so, Karen.*

*Her name is literally Karen, guys. 


*Need Sources? I got 'em!