Black History Month Menu at N.Y.U.: Kool-Aid, Watermelon and Controversy

Maggie Astorfeb, New York Times, February 21, 2018

On Tuesday, a dining hall at New York University advertised a special meal in honor of Black History Month. On the menu? Barbecue ribs, corn bread, collard greens, and two beverages with racist connotations: Kool-Aid and watermelon-flavored water.

Nia Harris, a sophomore in N.Y.U.’s College of Arts & Science, sought an explanation from Weinstein Passport Dining Hall’s head cook. {snip}

The head cook also told Ms. Harris that the employees who planned the menu were black.

Ms. Harris, 19, posted a screen shot of her email on Facebook, along with a post that began, “This is what it’s like to be a black student at New York University.” It spread quickly.

Within a day, Andrew Hamilton, the university president, had releaseda statement calling the menu “inexcusably insensitive.” {snip}

“N.Y.U.’s dining administrators will insist that Aramark put in place a mechanism to avoid a repeat of yesterday’s episode, such as consulting the existing student advisory body and campus cultural groups about the menu for special events,” {snip}

Aramark already requires employees to do that, but it said that two of its workers violated that standard by planning the menu on their own. Both were fired on Wednesday, and the company said it was retraining its N.Y.U. employees.

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