Updated: Faculty Responds to Sodexo Partnership

Via Wikimedia Commons

In response to the backlash following the College’s partnership with the management firm Sodexo, faculty members are currently engaged in serious email correspondence concerning the presence of the company at Kenyon. As community members and alumni do not have access to all-stu or all-emp and are therefore excluded from these conversations, The Thrill has received permission to republish these emails for the community at large. Emails appear in chronological order after the jump. Check back for updates. We will add to this post as more emails are sent.

For clarity, some formatting has been adjusted.

Vernon Schubel, Friday, June 8th 2012 at 2:52 a.m.

Subject: re: [ALLSTU] Update on Sodexo out-sourceing at maintenance

Dear Kenyon Community:

I am currrently abroad with only sporadic access to e-mail and came across this message from Dave Kunniger. Suffice it to say this is very troubling to me. We speak in terms of “commmunity” a lot at Kenyon and sometimes we even mean it. I have taught at Kenyon a long time and been through several of these negotiations with the skilled workers who keep the College going. Even at the most heated points in negotiations I was amazed to see how the workers put the needs of students and the educational mission of the College first. If the situation is as it is presented in Mr. Kunniger’s e-mail is accurate this is a sad turn of events. The workers at Kenyon are part of my community. We all see them everyday. They aren’t strangers and certainly not adversaries.

I realize it is sadly now fashionable in some circles to see unions and workers as the enemy. We all saw what happened in Wisconsin under Scott Walker and what Gov. Kasich tried to put forward in Ohio. As an educator and former teachers’ union member I grow especially weary of the way many people blame every ill in the education profession on unions. But the fact is without the trade union movement there would be no middle class in the United States. The struggle for a decent living with benefits and a chance to own a home and get a good education for one’s children are tied to the right of collective bargaining. I am always troubled to see it weakened.

I am not in Gambier at the moment and can only see this from a distance but it seems it will be a very different place I return to next Fall if the people who keep our physical plant running are no longer part of our community but instead reduced to outside help hired by a company who have only the bottom line as their guiding principle.

I was raised to respect workers. My family comes from the working class. I was raised to believe we are all to be treated with equal respect and dignity. And, as a corollary, I was raised to respect unions and –yes–to not cross picket lines. I hope the situation is not as it seems because we are about to lose something very valuable at Kenyon. A few years ago when I was at Kenyon and the negotiations got tense I attended a public discussion where the workers talked about strategies. Amazingly, it was decided with no dissent in the room that whatever tactics might be used by the union they would to nothing to prevent a smooth and seamless opening of the campus for students. As I saıd to members of the adminisration then and repeat now, that kind of loyalty deserves respect. That kind of loyalty says something profound about the people who work at the College. That kind of loyalty is the essence of “community.”

I hope I do not return to a fundamentally different community than the one I left.

Sincerely,

Vernon James Schubel

Judy Smith, Friday, June 6th 2012 at 6:51 a.m.

Subject: re: [ALLSTU] Update on Sodexo out-sourceing at maintenance

Thank you Vernon for voicing what I hope many of us feel. I am calling on Kenyon’s administration to inform us whether the points 6/8made in Dave’s email are indeed accurate. Will they no longer be “Kenyon folk”? Have their Kenyon benefits been taken away–for example, will their children no longer be eligible for the GLCA reimbursement program? If Dave’s understanding is inaccurate, then surely the Kenyon administration can make an effort to articulate to the workers and to us that this is a case of miscommunication. If Dave’s understanding is correct, then the Kenyon administration needs to articulate that to us as well. We need to know just what Kenyon has–or has not–done. So I call on President Nugent to see that the larger Kenyon community is informed today.

Sincerely, Judy R. Smith

Joe Venosa, Friday, June 8th 2012 at 10:20 a.m.

Subject: re: [ALLSTU] Update on Sodexo out-sourceing at maintenance

Good morning all,

Having had the tremendous privilege to spend the past year as a visiting assistant professor at Kenyon College, receiving news of U.E. Local 712’s recent “negotiations” comes as a sad reminder of the recent trends in regards to the erosion of workers’ rights….even in tiny Gambier. Throughout the school year at nearly every function I heard endless claims of a “community” and of the strong bond between workers, faculty, students and administrators in building and shaping this institution for the better. I also had the chance to get to know several members of the maintenance staff during the year and got to hear about why they enjoy their work, as well as learn of the growing concerns that they had about their jobs. If Mr. Kuninger’s report is indeed accurate, which I believe it is, than those workers and faculty who support the members of U.E. Local 712 and the welfare of their families should make their voices heard.

I admit that part of my disgust is based on personal experience. Having put myself through college, I worked for Sodexo for three years while a student at Ramapo College of New Jersey and witnessed firsthand repeated workplace safety and labor violations at the hands of Sodexo management. This of course only reflected the wider reality that the Sodexo Corporation routinely faces legal challenges from workers and human rights groups across Latin America, the Caribbean and parts of North America for their business practices. In the past, the company has even distributed official booklets to management on how to prevent workplace unionization, including various tactics to suppress wages. As the largest multinational company currently operating within American college campuses, its has established a shocking record on labor relations and safety failures that speaks for itself.

I encourage all Kenyon personnel to do a bit of research on what kind of operation the administration seems to be bringing to campus. Ultimately, Sodexo’s approach (barring any future lawsuits and health code violations) will probably save money for Kenyon College, and it seems that the bottom line has triumphed over that supposed Kenyon “community.”

While I do not come from a union family, I do come from a working class background where I learned the often tragic way that people who work hard for their paycheck are all too often exploited by management and an upper-level bureaucracy. I echo Vernon’s plea that at least on a human level one should always show respect for workers, especially those who keep Kenyon College up and running. For whatever it is worth, Mr. Kuninger and his colleagues in U.E. Local 712 have my heartfelt support and prayers in their fight to retain dignity and maintain a living wage for their labor at Kenyon College.

Sincerely,

Joe Venosa

Steve Van Holde, Friday, June 8th 2012 at 11:49 a.m.

Subject: re: [ALLSTU] Update on Sodexo out-sourceing at maintenance

Thank you, Vernon, for a very eloquent letter on this important issue.

I would like to take this opportunity to ask the administration to hold a public meeting as soon as possible, and by next Friday at the latest, to discuss this important issue. There are a lot of people among the staff, faculty, student body, and alumi who are confused and upset by this apparent change of policy, and we would like a chance to voice our concerns and to see whether a fairer arrangement can be reached.

Steve Van Holde

Kenyon Faculty

Judy Smith, Friday June 8th 2012 at 12:04 p.m.

Subject: re: [ALLSTU] Update on Sodexo out-sourceing at maintenance

The Mount Vernon News reports that Mark Kohlman “did confirm that when Sodexo takes over, the workers will no longer be actual Kenyon employees.” Our fears are apparently very well founded. I second Janet McAdams and call for a reversal of this decision. Let our voices be heard. To remain silent is to be complicit. And to remain silent is to risk it happening to more of us as well. Please put fear aside and let your voice be heard.

Sincerely, Judy

Michael Levine, Friday, June 8th 2012 at 12:13 p.m

I strongly support all of the statements and the request made by Steve below.

– Michael Levine
Emeritus Professor of Psychology

Royal Rhodes, Friday, June 8th 2012 at 12:17 p.m.

Subject: re: [ALLSTU] Update on Sodexo out-sourceing at maintenance

Dear Steve, Vernon, Judy, Joe, Janet and others,

Thank you for the thoughtful letters on this troubling subject. We all know a range of workers affected and who will be affected in the future. These are the folk who make the college work, making it the “comely place” that we extoll at Founders’ Day. And they are trustworthy stakeholders with the rest of us in trying to help the students see this as a community and academic home. Alumni have commented time and again recently on how much of their Kenyon experience was assisted by workers going beyond the narrow definitions of their jobs to help. Those are the kinds of efforts that President Nugent also extolled at the recent Staff Recognition reception and lunch. Beyond the merits of the business decision, there are troubling questions that should be addressed about the process itself in terms of transparency, fairness, and adequate communication. Since we all live directly in this community, these are questions that directly affect faculty and other staff, the workers and their families, our students, our concerned alumni/ae, and the wider community. We are all stakeholders in this. It is my hope that the college will reconsider this decision.

Royal Rhodes

Department of Religious Studies

George McCarthy, Friday June 8th 2012 at 1:20 p.m.

Subject: The Kenyon Divide

The Kenyon Community: To My Friends, Colleagues, Co-workers, and Students

The recent emails from Dave Kuninger, Vernon Schubel, Judy Smith, and Roy Rhodes have been rather disturbing, if not outright sickening. It appears that over one hundred workers at Kenyon will no longer work for the college but will be employed by the French company Sodexo. I do not know the particular requests of the Maintenance Department, nor the particular demands of the Kenyon administration. I would appreciate it if the faculty and all Kenyon employees could be sent any pertinent and helpful information clarifying the Kenyon maintenance workers’ positions and demands, the institutional and legal history of Sodexo, and the Kenyon administration’s positions on these matters. Being a liberal arts college that publicly praises Socratic openness, intellectual democracy, personal integrity, and philosophical and political diversity, I would appreciate receiving more information on that which separates the maintenance workers from the administration. Why has the administration taken the position it has taken? What are its reasons and justifications? I need more information in order to make an informed decision about the relative merits of the two sides.

However, from another perspective it is very clear that workers across the Kenyon campus feel economically and psychologically injured and betrayed by the administration’s behavior and decision. Even the manner in which they were informed seems to bring people to tears. At the moment they are so alienated from the institution that it will be very difficult in the future for a Kenyon administrator to use the term “Kenyon community” with a straight face. It doesn’t have to be this way.

There was an External Review over a year ago that was never made public. Is there any information in this review that would be helpful to clarify this situation or to offer us other avenues for fiscal responsibility? I’m very concerned about the direction and future of this institution_._ What is very clear to me is that throwing our problems onto a managerial company with a very problematic history regarding the protection of worker and human rights is a disgrace. The Kenyon administration should be ashamed.

Yours truly,

Mac McCarthy

Jennifer Clarvoe, Friday June 8th 2012 at 1:27 p.m.

Subject: re: [ALLSTU] Update on Sodexo out-sourceing at maintenance

Dear Royal and others:

I want to concur with the principles addressed by my colleagues here, and like to emphasize what Royal says in the latest message about employees who are “trustworthy stakeholders with the rest of us in trying to help the students see this as a community and academic home.”

I think these principles should of course apply to any workplace, in any business, in any context–but I want to be sure that Kenyon does everything it can to appreciate its context a privileged employer in a relatively isolated rural community. We enjoy the benefits of being able to draw on the rooted, local community for so many kinds of important work at the college. In the twenty-plus years I’ve been at Kenyon, I can’t tell you how much of the communal institutional memory I’ve learned from the (non-academic) folks who’ve worked here for years and years, whose families have worked here, and some of whose children have become my students and gone on to do the college proud.

I can think of few things more dismaying than the internal severing of ourselves from our own rooted community, by “out-sourcing” management decisions and re-defining this part of our workforce in this way. Few decisions seem less likely to improve the commitment, communication, quality-control and efficiency the college seeks. It seems a sad squandering of great local strengths, in terms of both human and business values.

The college should see these protests and responses as arising from deep commitment to Kenyon and the community, and a wish to take the occasion of this challenge to enter into a real discussion of these important concerns.

Yours in the common pursuit,

Jennifer Clarvoe

English Department

Steve Van Holde, Friday June 8th 2012 at 1:28 p.m.

Subject: [ALLSTU] Fwd: Why did Kenyon join ranks with the union busters?

Dear colleagues and students,

Please see the letter below. As you may know, Robb Forman Dew is a “Kenyon friend” (and also the granddaughter of John Crowe Ransom) who is, among other things, a National Book Award winner. That she is this upset with the College’s apparent decision regarding Sodexo is worrying in itself, and I believe, indicative of how damaging that decision is and will be. Thus self- interest — as well as important issues of principle — strongly suggests that the administration and the Board should urgently reconsider this apparent decision to contract with Sodexo.

Sincerely,

Stephen Van Holde

Robb Forman Dew, Friday, June 8th 2012 at 1:45 PM

Subject: Why did Kenyon join ranks with the union busters?

To whom it may concern:

I am urging every writer I know to boycott any invitation to speak at a Kenyon College Commencement, and I’m urging every student who intends to apply for admission to Kenyon College to boycott the school! Meanwhile I have made an appointment with our financial advisor in order to revisit my planned gift to the school. Kenyon College has been the school I love best in the world, and I’m dumbstruck to see such tactics of bullying used within that community. Honestly, it breaks my heart! But there are many other schools that could make use of any gift of time or money I may dispense, and I’ll direct my attention elsewhere. How truly dreadful to see your wonderful community destroyed–as it will be–by such a stupid, unthinking decision!

The college has just awarded it’s faculty members 15% raises while cutting the staff wages by 3%, and signing on with one of the most dubious companies in the country to take over their maintenance. Sodexo is busily privatizing our prison system! This is no way for the college to save money, and given the college’s role as a union busting organization I’ve got an appointment with our estate planner to change my gift to Kenyon. I love the school; my grandfather founded The Kenyon Review there in the ’30s, but this is no longer the place I imagined it was. How in God’s name did the college come to a decision of this magnitude without consulting it’s alumnus?

Sincerely,

Robb Forman Dew

The following emails were added to this post on Saturday, June 9th 2012. 

Fred Baumann, Friday, June 8th 2012 at 7:30 p.m.

Subject: re: [ALLSTU] The Kenyon Divide

I’m not ready yet to disinherit Kenyon or sign petitions that speak in terms of demands.   But I am concerned about this.  I am happy to hear that employees will get at least similar benefits from their new employer and above all that the GLCA benefits will be retained for current employees.  Also, I’d like to know a lot more than I do before making judgments.  But a number of things still bother me. First, as some have remarked, this is a very big thing to do in the Kenyon community. To present it as a fait accompli seems quite remarkable.  Maybe it’s not faculty and student business as such, but that this would get a big reaction from students and faculty should have been easily predictable.  Kenyon lives on good morale far more than on marginal efficiencies, it seems to me, and this was not a confidence-building way to go.  Second, I am worried about a point that Linda Michaels raises.  Promises from Kenyon might well be different from promises from a multi-national corporation.   And, with that, how in general will Sodexo treat employees, both individually and collectively?  With the exception of the reign of  Mark Kohlman’s unlamented predecessor, there has, as far as I know, been a tradition of good faith treatment of employees here.  Would any major corporation operate in the same way?  Then, while I do not know anything about the facts concerning the widespread claims of bad labor practices made against Sodexo, the fact that it is apparently a remarkably unpopular outfit concerns me as well.   Overall, while I don’t, at least yet, share the indignation of some of those writing, I do share a sense of serious worry that this move will do us real harm down the road and maybe do very specific harm to people who have served the College loyally for many years.

Paul Gebhardt, Saturday June 9th 2012 at 9:23 a.m.

Dear Kenyon Community:

I usually try to stay away from public statements but, as far as I can see, the issue concerning outsourcing our facilities maintenance to Sodexo may well turn into a make or break situation — as far as the the cultural integrity of Kenyon is concerned.  The people who have taken responsibility for the decision in an earlier statement on the Kenyon website, CBO Mark Kohlman, President S. Georgia Nugent, and the Board of Trustees, have gravely mishandled this situation, in my opinion.  I believe they have severely compromised our trust in them that they will lead the college according to certain values according to which Kenyon aims to operate.
These values are, in my opinion,
— a spirit of community
— a sense of place, i. e. our interest in maintaining good relationships with our environment in Gambier and Knox County
— fairness
— a commitment to transparency and rational decision making
— the genuine inclination to exemplify as an institution what the institution teaches.
I fully agree with with what Fred Baumann has said.  I am not ready to sign a petition that makes demands, although it is my hope for several reasons that Kohlman, Nugent, and the Board of Trustees, will reconsider their decision and give up their “partnership” (college website) with Sodexo.
The spirit of community and exemplifying as an institution what the institution teaches: hiring a multi-national corporation with its headquarters in France that employs almost 400,000 employees for facilities management, or, more precisely, “have” our local workers in maintenance “work” for that corporation most clearly contradicts the emphasis on community that the college tries to promote at almost every step.  Mr. Kohlman and Ms. Nugent may not see it that way, but I do not see how terminating the Kenyon contracts of our community members and having Sodexo hiring them does not send a message that basically says: it does not matter whether you work for them or for Kenyon — bottom line is that the college can make use of the “engineering expertise and contemporary work-order, inventory-control, and parts-purchasing systems” that Sodexo promises.

But the spirit of community has been violated, I believe, in another way.  Here, I want to refer again to what Professor Baumann has said.  Presenting a decision that constitutes such a “big thing”, as Prof. Baumann writes, for the campus as a fait accompli, without ever indicating to faculty and staff (and the students, for that matter) that “we” are thinking about doing this, shows a blunt disregard for the idea that what we are doing here at Kenyon is, at least to some extent, a community effort.  I am deeply troubled by the fact that the decision is sprung on the affected employees as a done deal after most community members (students, faculty) have left the campus without ever discussing with the wider community that this constituted an agenda item.  In any relationship, the prerequisite for building trust is transparency, not withholding information.

In this regard, I believe it is good that we will have a public forum on June 22.  However, make no mistake, June 22 is far too late.  I am writing this from out of the country (where I will be beyond June 22), and I do not have the opportunity (nor the means) to attend this community forum.  And even if it were the case that the majority of the community could attend — the communication of this matter has been handled poorly, whether Mr. Kohlman is hosting a forum now or not.  As a corollary, I would assume that the campus would be informed in a more comprehensive way, be it through email, on the college website, or through other means that [give] community members opportunities to have their questions answered.
The way in which this situation points to past mistakes is matched by the way in which we have to look into the future.  The new statement about the June 22 forum on the college website points out how 8 staff members will keep their GLCA benefits.  So for any maintenance worker that Sodexo will hire to work at the college these benefits will not be available?  The website statement talks about benefits packages.  But, as Linda Michaels has pointed out and Fred Baumann reiterated, will these benefits commitments be honored in the future?  Kenyon College and the community that it supposedly constitutes will have no say in that anymore.
Why do I find all of this troubling — and why do I believe that all other community members should find it troubling, as well?
Because I believe that this situation affects some core values of Kenyon that, in the past, have made Kenyon strong.  Before Kenyon, I have taught at three different institutions, both public and private.  Only at Kenyon have I found that when people stated that it was an intellectual community, they were truly committed to this idea.  I have, so far, loved my work at Kenyon because, whether it be among the faculty or among the students, everyone seems to be interested in an exchange of ideas based on respect for each other.  And furthermore, I believe that this very traditional value is one of the major [reasons] for students to enroll at this college.
Now whether Kohlman, Nugent, and the Board of Trustees want to hold on to their “partnership” with Sodexo or not, the way in which this decision has been handled (regardless of what happens on June 22) indicates to me that suspending the exchange of ideas based on respect for each other in situations that are relevant to the core values of this community has become a possibility in this community.
Often, we get together and talk about the essentials of a liberal arts education, about assessment, about smoking outside college buildings, on putting teaching evaluations online, etc. — all the nitty gritty details of a life of a college.  I am of the persuasion that all of this petty detail is pretty meaningless if — in the grand scheme of things — we don’t know what truly matters to us.
I am deeply troubled because what, I feel, truly matters at Kenyon is being acutely compromised by this decision and the way in which those responsible have communicated it.

Judy Smith, Saturday June 9th 2012 at 10:21 a.m.

Subject: [ALLSTU] The Kenyon Community

Folks: Let me start by pointing out the soon-to-be bitter irony of the Kenyon email list allemp. Even is they are “allowed” to keep a Kenyon email, maintenance workers will soon no longer be Kenyon employees. Kenyon prides itself in supporting the local community which it shows by supporting local agriculture. Here is the next ridiculous irony I wish to point out: Kenyon apparently is more committed to local vegetables and the folk who grow them than they are to generations of local people who keep this College physically intact. Here’s my third and last point: We are the Kenyon Community and a small group of administrators/trustees have no right to decide, behind closed doors, that a significant part of us can suddenly no longer be part of us. I urge all of us to stand up and speak out. Signing the petition is one way to demand that the Kenyon Community remain intact. These are our friends, our families, our fellow Kenyon workers–indeed they are ourselves. If we allow maintenance workers to be severed from us, then we pave the way for a few folk behind closed doors to decide to amputate more arms or limbs from the Kenyon body. Arms, limbs, then vital organs, until “our” Kenyon is a hollow, dead thing. I have given 32 years of my life to Kenyon. I have loved Kenyon.I cannot  and will not stand by and watch the Kenyon I have loved be destroyed..  http://www.change.org/petitions/kenyon-college-stop-kenyon-from-partnering-with-sodexo (where, ironically, you can witness the vitality of the Kenyon community that is threatened–well over 500 people have already signed. Maintenance workers, administrative assistants. professors, current students, alumni–all of us part of ONE community).

Sincerely, Judy


60 comments

  • Shame on Kenyon College.

  • I hope The Thrill wins a Pulitzer for reporting on this issue.

  • Stay strong, friends.

  • In response to Robb — staff wages were not cut by 2%, and faculty were not raised by 15% (see http://www.kenyoncollegian.com/news/faculty-staff-to-receive-pay-raises-1.2783613#.T9LWNsVRBj4 and http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/04/13/some-staff-upset-after-kenyon-gives-higher-raises-faculty). While some might be of the opinion that what did happen (raises for all, but higher raises for faculty) was unfair, the College is a business and must be run as such. As someone paying full tuition minus a 20K/year academic scholarship, I’m happy to see that some of the individuals (i.e. trustees) most committed to keeping Kenyon successful are actively seeking ways to cut spending and keep the institution afloat.
    Idealism is great for those who can easily afford the 50K+ per year, or for those who pay hardly anything for the education that others are funding, but the bottom line does matter for the rest of us.
    That being said, I think Robb’s comments (along with Stephen’s, above) do point to something worth noting — reputation is important, and, quite honestly, half of what students pay for when they decide to attend a reasonably well-respected college or university. I’d hope that boycotts are not in the works, but those making the discussed financial decisions would do well to take public opinion into account as they assess the implications of the Sodexo partnership.

  • I’m wondering what response Jennifer Delahunty and the Kenyon Admissions staff are preparing for prospective students when they ask why Kenyon decided to partner with a corporation that recently settled an $80 million lawsuit for racial discrimination? To save a buck?

  • As a parent, and as someone with a public relations background, this reflects very poorly on President Nugent. Regardless of the merits of the decision, her absence can only reflect one of two lines of thought — Either she knew that this would be unpopular and that she wanted to be out of town when it broke, or that she felt that the lives and working conditions of these staff members were not particularly important. A big mistake when dealing with the Kenyon family.

    I have no insights into details of the contract, and at this point it is almost irrelevant. What I now know is that when the choice is made between expediency and transparency, the former is chosen, and that at least some of high-minded speeches about “community” given by college officials are surprisingly hollow.

    • Thank you, Kenyon parent. This is a modus operandi for the President. She is charming to trustees as far as I can tell, but there have been grumblings on campus almost since she started. So many astute and community minded folks cannot be wrong.

      Sure, changes may occur-but the previous president was able to bring about major changes to Kenyon that moved the college forward and work with the community while doing so. Also, students claim she very rarely on campus. While a president has travel obligations, President Nugent has made it clear that Gambier is not her home.

  • baumann agrees (mostly) with schubel this is a bfd

    • You know you’re on the wrong side of history when those two men are in agreement on the other.

  • Please consider that each part of the Kenyon Community is receiving a slighlty different version of what changes will take place under Sodexo. If Dave makes a statement that turns out to be denied by the College, I will be sure that he was not trying to give misinformation, but that the information keeps changing. As a Maintenance Employee the answers to questions that we ask about our future is generally “you will have to work that out with Sodexo in your next contract”.

    It broke my heart to be told on Tuesday that I will no longer be an employee of Kenyon. I love Kenyon and the relationship that I have had for almost 30 years with Staff and Faculty and Students. We know we are powerless in this situation and you have no idea how much comfort we take in the overwhelming response that we have received from the rest of the Community. This issue goes beyond just the treatment of the Maintenance Workers by the College. A close look also needs to be taken at the attitude that the Administration is taking toward the Staff.

    • Perhaps if upper management had listened to the lowly peons who repeatedly tried to tell them about the past mismanagement and had provided the additional tradesman needed to keep up with all of the new properties purchased in the past 10 years they wouldn’t need to hire any outside contractors to assist with repairs. It has been painfully obvious that upper management either has no knowledge of or no interest in maintenance operations at Kenyon. Despite requests for more time, Maintenance is given about one week to clean and repair dorm rooms before they are occupied by Summer Conference people. They even had an outside company come in to advise them on how to better manage this situation. They could not believe that Maintenance was given no consideration when booking the dorms. Oddly enough, the results of that consultation were never shared. But, then they want to blame the Maintenance Dept. for the condition of these buildings. If they are not happy with the performance of the Maintenance Dept. they should have spoken with them and asked for ideas on how to better the department.

  • I’m curious that there has been no discussion about the reported benefits. The buildings really are run down and filthy–to the point of embarrassment. Have you seen the trash and the dirty dishes everywhere? And why is it that every fifth light bulb seems to be out? The deal on the table is supposed to fix this. Maybe it will; maybe it won’t. But let’s not kid ourselves that everything is hunky dory right now.

    • Concerned Student #2

      How dare you contradict the establish narrative that our esteemed professors have created. Corporations are soulless tentacles of the devil himself and unionized workers are god’s cherubic angels incarnate.

    • You don’t understand which staffs are affected, thus your examples are irrelevant. Furthermore, your opinion speaks to the sense of entitlement and cruel carelessness which too often accompanies privilege. Perhaps in two years when the custodial staff’s contract expires, your voice can be heard because shame on the custodial staff that we, the students, steal dishes from Peirce but are too lazy to do anything with them besides leave them around garbage receptacles.

      Thanks for playing. SB5 was voted down here in Ohio–Ohioans have spoken and we want their unions.

      • Concerned Student #2

        Have you ever realized that Kenyon is a business, and that we are in a deep recession right now. If Kenyon wants to maintain its academic quality costs have to be cut. Unfair? Maybe. If you have such a problem with these types of difficult decisions un-enroll. Regardless, jumping to the conclusion that Kenyon has ‘lost its soul’ [petitioner’s comment] are completely overblown. We have no understanding of the school’s financial situation nor of the internal debate that led to this decision.

        The way the administration handled this decision is unfair, absolutely. But the way the decision was relayed to the workers and the public is a separate issue from the validity of the decision itself. We have to remember that distinction.

        Accusations of “unchecked privilege” have become the en vogue debate closer on liberal arts campuses. What better way to stifle intellectual dissent than to appeal to identity rather than the content of an argument. Admittedly you only did the former. Silly me, I forgot that the “personal is political”.

      • Good! Kenyon is a business now! Let’s surrender our non-profit status and turn in our .edu domain-name and email addresses!

      • Concerned Student #2

        Kenyon has always been a business. You’re being willfully ignorant if you think otherwise. The school doesn’t make money but they need to cover costs, pay employees, and structure tuition.

      • Education is not a business because–save for the most cynical of explanations of learning–one cannot purchase or barter for knowledge.

        But by all means, University of Phoenix (founded by Reed College grads, of all institutions) is gladly accepting applications (and defrauding their students).

      • Concerned Student #2

        The fact that Kenyon needs to earn money in order to cover costs puts it in the same category as University of Phoenix? That seems a little reductive.

        In order for Kenyon students to receive a high quality education they need to pay money — a lot of it. Cynical or not that’s the reality of higher education. While I (nor 99% of these protestors or commenters) don’t know Kenyon’s rationale behind their decision, I suspect that they need to control costs. Increasing an already astronomically high tuition is certainly a way for Kenyon to do this, but they chose a different route.

      • The college looks to save approximately $500,000 dollars with this move. That doesn’t seem like a large sum of money to take for your soul.

      • Businesses exist to make a profit, and the goods or services they provide are just means to this end. Kenyon is not a business: it exists to provide education and to be a community. The inflows and outflows of money enable the college to run, but are not its reason for being.

        The Sodexo decision compromises the Kenyon community in two ways. By being presented as a fait accompli, it gives the various stakeholders the feeling that we have little control over the direction of the college. In addition, by hiring an outside corporation to act as an intermediary between the college and the maintenance workers, the decision drives a wedge between Kenyon and the surrounding locality.

        In compromising the Kenyon community to save a little money, the college administration is getting its priorities confused.

      • Concerned Student #2

        Anon: That’s an important data point in this debate. Can you cite it?

        Alum 07′: It might sound ugly, but Kenyon has to turn a profit. If they cease to do so they can no longer fund the service (education) that they provide. Or alternatively, that service will decrease in quality exponentially. We cannot delink financial health and quality of education.

        You make a good point about priorities. The college has indeed chosen to focus on its financial situation rather than its much touted sense of community. I will not reflexively say that these priorities are out of whack. I await more information to make that judgement.

      • Kenyon doesn’t turn a profit. It is a non-profit. I’m not sure what is so difficult to understand about the fact that the school’s “business” model clearly echoes its guiding philosophy: it exists to educate. Your ideal of education is severely stunted in so far as you equate an increase in money freed up to budget for professors/etc with a more holistic view that education requires the whole picture (staff, faculty, engaged students) to really mean anything.

      • Certainly Kenyon is not immune from financial constraints. But the rhetoric of “Kenyon is a business and needs to turn a profit” implies that money is an end in itself, as it would be for a literal business. Kenyon is special because tradition and community are the objects and money is merely a means for perpetuating them. My experience of going to graduate school at a big research university, and working in industry, really drove home for me how unique and precious that is: almost everywhere else, it’s the other way around.

        Perhaps a compelling case can be made that the putative savings from switching to Sodexo can better serve the college’s goals by being used in other ways, such as slowing tuition hikes or building the endowment. However, the fact that such a case was not publicly made or discussed, prior to the decision’s announcement, implies that the administration either felt that cost savings were adequate justification in and of themselves, or did not feel that they needed to consult other stakeholders before making a decision that impacted the entire community. Both possibilities suggest that the administration does not fully understand what makes Kenyon unique — and this would not be the only such failure, as many other commenters have pointed out.

      • Concerned Student #2

        Alum ’07: All very good points. I think we need to make the distinction between the way this decision was relayed to the Kenyon community and the validity of the decision itself.

        If the goal of Kenyon’s decision was to bolster Kenyon’s financial health then we need to put it into context: tuition hike, lower professor pay (thus making the college less attractive for educators), reduce financial aid, or switch employers for maintenance workers. Some might still believe that changing maintenance employers is the least attractive option. But we owe it to the Kenyon community to put this decision in context and investigate the other options Kenyon could have pursued, rather than reflexively assuming it took the worst one.

        This is why I hope the public forum will be very valuable — and why it should be streamable over the internet.

    • Katie Greenberg

      What are you talking about? Which buildings are so “filthy”? Trash and dirty dishes are the fault of students, not maintenance workers.

      • Yeah, sometimes the buildings are behind on maintenance, but a lot of the time that’s because students are messing them up. Sometimes it’s dirty dishes in the hallways because people take food out of Peirce. Sometimes students get really drunk and break stuff or make places messy and then they don’t do a damn thing about it. Ever seen the day after Sendoff? South Quad is perpetually disgusting, but don’t blame maintenance, blame frats.

  • As a proud alumna, I am deeply disappointed by this decision. Unless this decision is reversed, I will no longer give money to an institution that does not share or reflect my values.

  • Hesitantly Furious

    Since the details of the contract aren’t out yet, it is possible that the change people experience isn’t as much as it might seem. It may be that Kenyon is using Sodexo for their greater purchasing and organizational power while still ensuring that Kenyon’s workers will remain at Kenyon and retain their benefits. Everything that makes maintenance possible (things besides the people) are very expensive, and companies like Sodexo have the power to greatly reduce those costs. And, since the cost of education is rising so much, Kenyon may be doing what it can to try and keep tuition less unaffordable. It is possible for them to have contracted out to Sodexo while maintaining many powers over how their employees are treated. We don’t know.

    However, even if that were the situation, the way the decision was reached and revealed is shameful. The administrations is betraying the Kenyon community by making the process secretive. President Nugent should be here on campus (interestingly, I haven’t seen her on campus since Convocation) and she should have discussed this with the people affected before it was decided. The fact that Sodexo has numerous ethical issues is yet another example of how the Kenyon administration messed up.

  • What is hugely evident, whatever one may think of the Sodexo plan, is the administrations’s miscalculation and cluelessness around the way this was handled, from the secrecy and timing to her being unavailable, along with the president of the board of trustees, because of the Cuba junket. Either she apparently thought it was a minor matter — so wrong! — or she thought it woudl be best to be out of range when the story emerged — so wrong! — or nobody thought this through at all in any way and made no calculations of any kind. Whichever narrative is the true story of President Nugent’s thinking, along with her staff, the administration comes off looking shabby, sleazy, cynical, lazy, and the precise opposite of pro-active, sensitive, caring, ethical, and honest.

  • Has anyone e-mailed President Nugent?

  • Kenyon’s Facebook page is allowing posts now.

  • As a graduate of the class of 1989, I’m really pleased to see so many members of the faculty from so many different political perspectives raising concerns. Professor Baumann raises a very important one: how will workers fare when negotiating with Sodexo rather than negotiating directly with the college over wages and benefits? If history is any guide (and as a recovering history major, I believe it is…) Sodexo will, at some point, begin to erode the current wages and benefits the workers in question currently enjoy. They have done so in a number of different settings, no matter the intentions of the party they contracted with. I cannot be in Gambier on Monday. But I do hope someone will ask this question: how long is the tenure of the contract with Sodexo? That will say a great deal. A longer contract is a bad sign all the way around. It gives Sodexo wide latitude and tremendous leverage to do whatever it wants without much ability on the College’s part to change course. Anyone who negotiated a long contract would likely know this and it would say a lot about the college’s intentions. If the contract is shorter, say, a year, it may mean the college is trying this on for size. A costly gamble, to be sure, but a more reversible one.

  • Kenyon has to spend more on faculty huh? See that article in the Alumni Bulletin about the sexualization of young girls clothes ? “Pinball wizards” too.What nonsense. That what they do at Kenyon nowadays? No wonder Kenyon’s broke. Lay off some of these wastrels & give the workers a raise.

    • To be fair, the “Pinball Wizard” was an alum from the mid-90s (the heyday of the Gund Game Room). And he has a day job as a teacher.

    • It’s an alumni magazine that, by nature, is reflective of the diverse lifestyles and choices made by alums AFTER Kenyon. Your comment makes no sense. And Andre really was wicked good at pinball, pool too.

  • It may be high time that the Board of Trustees considers not the maintenance staff’s contract but President Nugent’s. This is just yet another in a long line of appallingly stupid gaffes in public relations which indicate either remarkable incompetence, shocking callousness towards her employees and institution, or both. She is quickly eroding any trust or confidence in the school’s administration. This comes on the heels of her foot-in-mouth attempt to explain to the school’s staff why they would not be receiving a raise (““Students don’t choose Kenyon for the president, or the registrar, or even business services. … They come here for the faculty,” she said.”). Regardless of whether or not that statement might be true, it shows an astonishing lack of tact. Kenyon deserves better than this clown show.

  • ““Students don’t choose Kenyon for the president, or the registrar, or even business services. … They come here for the faculty,” she said.”

    Nugent is only half right on this. Yes, we chose to attend Kenyon because of the faculty, but we chose to stay because of the dedication and hard work that all of the employees give. Those who have given it their all so that we can enjoy those four years on The Hill to their greatest deserve respect and honest terms of employment. Sodexo will surely erode the hard fought terms of employment and will in the end, slowly with a determined pace, erode the atmosphere of the college that we hold so dear.

  • Oh how much I love the faculty at Kenyon College. I made such a good decision to go to school here. Hopefully the administration will also make some good decisions, or rather, good rescinding of bad decisions.

  • We were there.
    As a member of the Maintanance Dept. we have a number of years of service with kenyon College. During these years we have always been there when needed. Grounds, Custodians and Trades. When we were hired we were told we were apart of the Kenyon Family. But we have been informed that all of us the Trades now and the grounds and Custodians in two years will be turned out of the family and given to a company. As if we were turned over to an orphanage no longer wanted or cared about.
    When I say we were there I mean just that. A hurricane moves across the state taking out trees, electric and causing a great deal of damage. In the middle of this in the dark and in clear danger we were there. Not President Nugent, Not Mr. Kohlman, not Senior Staff us.
    When the tree came down on Commencement Area and flatten the chairs in the middle of the night during a bad storm, and parents were out asking at one in the morning “will it be outside”. We were there. Grounds, Trades,and Custodians. We worked all night into the early morning. And yes Commencement was held out side on that very lawn. President Nugent wasn’t there nor Mr. Kohlman nor Senior Staff. We were there. During the snow storm a few years ago when Ohio was at a stand still and nothing was moving, we were there. The streets and walks were the safest in the state. the heat was on in the buildings the steps and walks were clear for students to get around. President Nugent wasn’t there nor Mr. Kohlman, nor Senior Staff. We were there. And many other nights and early morings during ice storms and wind storms, we were there. When a female student was found walking around dazed with frozen bare feet and no coat, we were there. We got her in a truck and got her to Security so she could be taken to the hospital. We the student died along duff street a grounds person found them, we were there. When a female student fell down the stairs in the early morning hours and was injured, we were there to get her help. When smoke was found in a hall way, we were there to make sure Security knew and the students were safe. When a student vomited in a hallway we were there to clean it up. When a room or hall flooded, we were there to make things right. When heat, electric, Ac were lost in a building we were there to get it going. Not just Grounds or Custodians or trades the Maintanance Dept all of us. We were there.
    When the kenyon Family needed us we were there. Now the Administration says we no longer want you in the family. When Commencement and Alumni Weekend ended they had parties telling how great we did. Not President Nugent, nor Mr. kohlman nor Senior Staff. It is a scary and sick feeling not knowing your future. We had family. We thought we would always be family for a very long time. Many have made kenyon their lifes work. But now they want to give us away. The powers that have decided that we don’t need retirement, benefits family. When the years of service were honored the statement was made ” Wht would anyone stay in one place so long”. Well that is called dedication. It’s what you give family. I hope the idea of giving us away ends and we stay Kenyon Employees. Not some company in frances employees. We want to stay Kenyon family. We want to be here.
    This isn’t about Unions its about being a part of something like family.. .

    • Thank you for all of your work. It may not be appreciated by the administration, but it’s appreciated by the rest of us, who have walked the icy sidewalks you’ve cleared, who have been helped by you when we need it, who have just appreciated the beauty of this campus thanks to all of you! You’ll always be family to us!

    • Thank you so much for everything you’ve done.

      • I agree – there are certain things I’ve been unhappy with at Kenyon, among them the way the administration isolates itself to make decisions and the way certain students treat property at the college and act carelessly, but I have never been disappointed with maintenance. You guys came to my house at 7 am to fix my water heater so I didn’t have to take an ice shower… my own mother wouldn’t even do that for me. THANK YOU!

    • Thankful Student

      Thank you for being there for me and the rest of Kenyon. One of my favorite things about Kenyon is how friendly the maintenance workers are, and I always tell people that when I explain how special Kenyon is. You are always unbelievably helpful, and I enjoy your company. Don’t let the poor decisions of a few higher ups make you feel unappreciated by the rest of us. You are more than appreciated by me.

  • We have heard from a number of Kenyon folk—faculty, students, workers, union officials. But not enough of them. The increasingly-corporate culture here at Kenyon is marked by a certain discomfort in speaking up. That should change—no one should fear damaging their livelihood by making their feelings known on this (or any) issue.

    Members of this community stand to have THEIR livelihoods damaged—to have the rules changed abruptly to corporate rules, serving corporate priorities. We should all speak to any issue that affects our community in such a way.

    Because the fact is, Kenyon is not a business; it is an institution of higher learning, and a non-profit. It is not a corporation and should not act like one, or seek to turn itself into one.

    And let’s be real: Sodexo will serve Sodexo, no matter what they have promised to Kenyon College. THEY are a business.

    We have some good folks in this administration and among this faculty—some talented, natural leaders who are capable of guiding Kenyon well and being a positive force and presence in this community. Let’s identify them and get them doing that job.

    Kenyon deserves more graceful working relations than this episode has created, and less top-down disdain than this episode reveals.

  • Since The Thrill has stopped posting posts from Faculty, I will post this from affiliated Biologist Dick Hoppe:
    Kurt Lepley said something very insightful in his email titled “Sodexo Controversy.” He wrote:

    “The bottom line of this administration is the almighty dollar! And who can put a feather in there cap saying look how much we saved. Not thinking how it may effect the people’s lives or the community they live in.”

    Coincidentally, I’ve just been reading Dan Ariely’s “Predictably Irrational” (http://danariely.com/), a popular book about behavioral economics. I strongly suggest that Georgia Nugent and Mark Kohlman read it, and if they don’t have time to read the whole book, that they read Chapter 4 on the interaction of market norms with social norms.

    According to Kohlman, “Kenyon initiated the partnership with Sodexo in order to bring engineering expertise and contemporary work order, inventory-control and parts-purchasing systems to the College. The College has had to outsource some maintenance and engineering work in recent years.” That is, it was basically an economic decision: It’s more economically efficient to outsource certain work than to develop the internal expertise to do it. It is the application of market norms to the decision.

    But using market norms to make organizational decisions is not without cost. In Chapter 4 of “Predictably Irrational” Ariely notes that “… when a social norm collides with a market norm, the social norm goes away for a long time.” Later in that chapter he writes:

    “Although some companies have been successful in creating social norms with their workers, the current [2008] obsession with short term profits, outsourcing, and draconian cost cutting threatens to undermine it all. In a social exchange, after all, people believe that if something goes awry the other party will be there for them, to protect and help them. These beliefs are not spelled out in a contract, but they are general obligations to provide care and help in times of need.”

    I’ll add that the ‘general obligations’ are reciprocal: it is emphatically not merely a notion of nanny college and dependent employees.

    Social norms at Kenyon revolve around the notion of “community,” that we are all somehow part of the same social organization and share values consistent with that organization’s reason(s) for being. “Community” means different things to different people, but it’s certainly not merely geographical proximity. It involves shared experiences, shared values and goals, and shared effort in support of those values and goals, not merely because as an employee one is paid but because one does share those goals and values. Eroding social norms means eroding community. And that is what the Sodexo affair is doing: eroding this community, divorcing the college from the people in and around it.

    Nugent and Kohlman, along with their superiors on the Board of Trustees, have been seduced by the delusion–and I use that word advisedly–that the college must be run like a business, aping private for-profit enterprises. That’s Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour for managers, truly a delusion. The college is not a business, and while it certainly has to have systems in place that keep it solvent, how it makes decisions and the content of those decisions cannot ape those of Cooper Energy Services or even that laudable corporate citizen, Ariel Corporation. Kenyon is not a business enterprise, and to operate it like a business is delusional. How decisions are made is as important, or even more important, to the health of the college as is the actual content of those decisions, and Kenyon ought not make decisions like private for-profit corporations often do, in a top-down and authoritarian manner. That’s directly antithetical to the social norms of the college community.

    By their actions–both in the manner of reaching the decision and the content of the decision itself–the college decision-makers who agreed to the Sodexo “partnership” (what a deceptive euphemism that is!) have abandoned any pretensions to “community” they might have once had. All they have left are words, so much hot air. The June 22 forum is likely to overload the air conditioning in Pierce.

    Once again, “…when a social norm collides with a market norm, the social norm goes away for a long time.” Kenyon’s main marketing appeal out here in the wilderness is “community,” and with that gone Kenyon is just another small expensive private college in Ohio.

    Richard B. Hoppe

    P.S. As a postscript I’ll add for those who don’t know me that I have lived just outside Gambier for 41 years. I taught psychology, including cognitive psychology, industrial/organizational psychology and organization development, at Kenyon for 20 years–the 1970s and 1980s–and for the last half-dozen years have been again associated with the college as an Affiliated Scholar in Biology. I’ve known people in maintenance and skilled trades, managers and laborers alike, for all of that time, within the college and outside it, for example on the fire department. They–we–have been ill-served by Nugent and Kohlman.

  • One thing that I would like faculty to comment on is the fact that their salaries, terms and conditions have been improving, whilst the terms and conditions of other workers are being eroded, arguably to make up the difference. Comments?

    • Yes, but maintenance people make about 80% of faculty salaries (and more than new faculty), while President Nugent makes more than 10 times faculty.

  • Some faculty feel that we’ve been bought off — our raise this year was exactly equal to an extra $500,000/year.

  • Kenyon parent here – If Kenyon goes through with their plan to move to Sodexo then I will discontinue my gifts to the school.

  • As a member of this community and a previous member of a community where Sodexo ruled, I find this a sad situation that Kenyon has chose to sell out a loyal and important “part of their Family”. Anyone can research Sodexo, the lawsuits, inhumane treatment of their employees, stock that trades on the PNK market which is risky, usually worthless and unregulated. The stock trades in Euros. President Nugent claims that Seniority will remain and Sodexo carries comprable sick time, vacation, and reitrement packages. This is absolutely not true. Their retirement is in their own stock, again not a stock that is regulated or part of any reliable US market. Vacation will be reduced by several weeks and pro-rated. Sick days are reduced and pro-rated. Although pay may go through starting in July at current levels, the documents clearly will spell out that Sodexo will do evaluations in August (their fiscal year end) and raises will be pro-rated from date of hire for the following year.The documents will also clearly state that Sodexo does not have to uphold any promises made by the former employer. Vacation will be pro-rated and employees will receive less than they have now. Research shows that Sodexo longest year of service Managers highest pay is approximately 28,000.00.

    Sodexo took over Maintenance at Ohio Weslyan several years ago. We took our Son there to interview for College acceptence and he did not go to school there because the entire campus was literally filthy everywhere. The obvious lack of care and loyalty that the Maintenance staff has for the College was visibily clear. We also felt that the College was not safe, as it attracts all kinds of crime since it became dirty and as staff lost their concern for the Campus,and so concern for safety of others on campus goes too. We spoke with a maintenance staff employee, who was taking a break, he told us that since Sodexo took over, no one cares. They are treated unfairly and hate their jobs. Whatever Kenyon has expressed as their minimum level of care for the Campus to Sodexo will become what Sodexo chooses as minimal care for Kenyon by next year. Kenyon’s Employees in Maintenance have always taken great pride in their care for Kenyon. They are there for anything asked of them and happily do so. This will end.

    Critics say Sodexo is a prime example of the risks of out-sourcing service work to contractors.A recent response from Emory College was; Contractors promise to deliver better service at lower cost, with the goal of freeing up tight budgets as well as scarce administrative time. However, some Sodexo clients have found themselves trapped in a situation where outsourcing creates more headaches than it solves either because of poor financial performance or poor management and staffing practices.

    Human Rights Report: Sodexo, Emory college
    “Sodexo has been exposed for its nefarious business practices internationally. A report published in February by a prominent TransAfrica Forum found Sodexo engaging in rampant human rights violations worldwide. These violations included discrimination, poor safety conditions, inhibition of the right of workers to organize and extremely low wages at Sodexo workplaces in Guinea, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Morocco. The report found that Sodexo workers in these countries were receiving wages as low as 33 cents an hour, while others were subjected to mandatory pregnancy tests as a precondition for employment.
    Sodexo has been exposed for its nefarious business practices internationally. A report published in February by a prominent TransAfrica Forum found Sodexo engaging in rampant human rights violations worldwide. These violations included discrimination, poor safety conditions, inhibition of the right of workers to organize and extremely low wages at Sodexo workplaces in Guinea, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Morocco. The report found that Sodexo workers in these countries were receiving wages as low as 33 cents an hour, while others were subjected to mandatory pregnancy tests as a precondition for employment.In a separate report by Human Rights Watch, it was discovered that “despite claims of adherence to international standards on workers’ freedom of association, Sodexo has launched aggressive campaigns against some of its U.S. employees’ efforts to form unions and bargain collectively.”
    We are concerned that Sodexo is committing fraud on Emory and its students as well. Sodexo’s unacceptable behavior reaches into our own community. Sodexo workers and other subcontracted workers are treated to a lower standard when compared to directly hired Emory employees.For example, Emory employees have access to free MARTA passes, while Sodexo workers and other subcontracted workers do not. Additionally, numerous Sodexo workers on our own campus have expressed their fear of being fired for their interest in forming a union.In response to discussions about unionization among workers, Sodexo initiated mandatory anti-union presentations, which took place in both the spring and fall of 2010. This has only made workers more fearful of talking openly about their legal right to form a union. Sodexo misled the entire Emory community in the spring of 2010 when it had three of its managers write an editorial to the Emory Wheel pretending to be hourly food service workers from the company. This public misrepresentation by the management, which was intended to mislead the Emory community, is simply unacceptable.
    As we are sure that most agree, such practices are deplorable and are not exemplary of the type of behavior we encourage in members of the Emory community. Emory holds itself up as a pillar of justice and human dignity, and a leader on human rights issues. Yet, if we are to truly be a leader in human rights issues, we cannot sit by idly while members of our own community engage in exactly the behaviors we should denounce. By conducting business with Sodexo, we are financially supporting each and every instance of the appalling conduct with which they have engaged themselves.

    Sodoxo’s behavior, both domestic and abroad, has not gone unnoticed by other universities. In January of 2011 Phyllis Wise, President of Washington University, was so concerned about Sodexo’s actions that she wrote a letter to Sodexo’s U.S. headquarters requesting explanations for the company’s national and global conduct, informing Sodexo of her students’ desire to terminate their school’s contract.

    Given the substantial and mounting evidence of Sodexo’s blatant disregard for human rights, poor treatment of workers, and other unethical practices here and around the world, we find the administration’s stance on the issue to be harmful to the well being of the Emory community at large.

    It is not only students that feel this way. Seventy-eight faculty members expressed their concern in a letter published by the Emory Wheel last April. It is clear that the community is standing in solidarity and requesting action on the part of the Emory Administration.”

    Do we, in Gambier and Kenyon, want and approve of this type of behavior in our Community?

    In a separate report by Human Rights Watch, it was discovered that “despite claims of adherence to international standards on workers’ freedom of association, Sodexo has launched aggressive campaigns against some of its U.S. employees’ efforts to form unions and bargain collectively.”

    Lawsuits, inhumane treatment all over the world, in the US and now coming to Gambier, Ohio. Did the Senior Staff do any research on this company?

  • In response to Fred Baumann, Friday, June 8th 2012 at 7:30 p.m. stating “I am happy to hear that employees will get at least similar benefits from their new employer and above all that the GLCA benefits will be retained for current employees.

    Wait a minute! First Georgia says that the TRE (GLCA benefits) will be there for current Kenyon employees. One worker asked her what can she tell her daughter when she gets home (a current Kenyon UNION employee) about attending college using the TRE after the contract expires and Georgia did not confirm that she would keep the TRE benifit being a current employee. All she said was that she cannot predict the future of what will happen when the contract expires. If she is a current employee now, she should not be worried, right!? Or is this double speak???

  • Pingback: How I Won The Thrill (But Shouldn’t Have) | The Thrill

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