"As beverage choices today, there was red Koolaid and watermelon flavored water", explained NYU student Nia Harris in a now viral Facebook post. They also noted that the employees who planned the menu were black. "We apologize for an inexcusable menu mistake that occurred at Downstein". "To see them step up on the stage and shine, that is the biggest reward for me and to give them the opportunity to learn about black history, because it's not something you learn everyday". You take a breath.
Within one day, the university president, Andrew Hamilton, issued a statement denouncing the menu and deeming it, "inexcusably insensitive".
Aramark issued an apology and said it has suspended the director of of the dining hall and will require sensitivity training for the rest of the kitchen staff.
Aramark has fired two employees that made the menu decisions. He said that the food and beverage choices had been made by Aramark, the universitys food service provider, with no input from NYU officials, and that the "error was compounded by the insensitivity of the replies" to Harris questions.
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In a statement to Fox5NY.com, Aramark said: "We have zero tolerance for any employee who does not adhere to our values or contradicts our longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion".
"We are extremely disappointed by the insensitive and offensive actions taken by one of our employees who did not follow policy and processes", Victoria Pasquale, Aramark Regional Vice President, said in a statement.
Harris tagged all of the Deans in her post, which alerted NYU's Black Student Union. This could have been used as a valuable teaching moment, but instead resulted in the company being pressured to let them go.
According to the results, the respondents favored Black History Month with a 57% to 18% difference, and opposed the creation of White History Month celebration by a 58% to 22% difference.