New York University (NYU) is reportedly one of the most overpriced schools in the country. Back in 2011, The Village Voice alleged NYU created more student debt than any other American university. Considering the millions NYU sucks dry from students, you would think the so-called liberal university would get one thing right during Black History Month: Don’t create a “Black” menu with Kool-Aid and watermelon. Yes, this happened.
According to the New York Times, “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.” The school received complaints from students, with one reporting a cook claimed the Kool-Aid was fruit punch and that the dining hall served fruit-flavored water “all the time.”
Nia Harris, 19, a student at NYU said she tried to communicate with the dining hall but was shut down, writing via Facebook on February 20, “Today I was lied to, placated, and ignored. In 2018 I literally had to explain why displaying watermelon and koolaid in celebration of Black History Month was not only racially insensitive but just ignorant.” She also wrote, “I’ve wanted to go to NYU since I was 7th grade, and it breaks my heart that at this allegedly ‘diverse’ and ‘global’ institution, black students are faced with issues like this one.” She posted an email she sent to dining services and a dean at NYU.
After the outcry, Andrew Hamilton, the university president, released a statement, which read in part, “We were shocked to learn of the drink and food choices that our food service provider — Aramark — offered at the Weinstein dining hall as part of Black History Month. It was inexcusably insensitive. That error was compounded by the insensitivity of the replies made to a student who asked Aramark staff on site how the choices were made… The drink and food choices for this meal were not discussed with NYU beforehand. NYU’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.”
Aramark also issued an apology claiming someone “independently” created the menu, “Employees at NYU who acted independently and did not follow our approved plan for the celebration of Black History Month have been terminated and are no longer with the company. We are extremely disappointed by this regrettable situation and apologize to the entire NYU community and communities everywhere for their insensitive and offensive actions.”
This sounds a bit confusing. Andrew Hamilton claimed “The drink and food choices for this meal were not discussed with NYU,” but Aramark wrote “Employees at NYU who acted independently have been terminated.” Sounds like someone at the university needs to be on the same page with their racist menu.
Happy Black History Month!