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Students boycott cafeteria over ‘neocolonial imperialist’ food provider

The food justice trend hit Scripps College recently, where some students at the all-women’s institution boycotted their cafeteria last Thursday to protest the food provider, Sodexo, which they accused of being neocolonial imperialists.

The Claremont Independent reports that the student-led campaign, called “Drop Sodexo,” included a one-day boycott as well as a simultaneous protest outside the dining hall. The students hosted an “alternative community lunch event” for those who took part, according to the effort’s Facebook page.

Scripps College costs about $50,000 annually in tuition and fees to attend.

A Drop Sodexo official statement, published earlier this year, notes:

Sodexo, the 18th largest corporation in the world, is infamous for its host of civil rights abuses, exploitative labor policies, neoliberalism, anti-unionism, substandard food quality, violations of food safety, environmental destruction, racial discrimination, major class-action lawsuits, ownership of private prisons, and much more. The overwhelming profits and capital they have accumulated to make them one of the most powerful multinational corporations in the world are derived from incredible injustices, namely unpaid or underpaid labor from private prisons, unlivable wages, neocolonial relationships that allow them to acquire cheap raw materials from nations of the Global South, substantial gains from military contracts, and others that are too numerous to count. …

As a Scripps community, we cannot stand back and allow Sodexo to continue their ruthless practices. We cannot be responsible for supporting what they represent. In its current form, having a contract with Sodexo and paying them to control our dining and facility services means we are investing in the injustices that they carry out in almost every corner of the globe. We are encouraging their growth as one of the largest multinational corporations to ever exist, feeding into their power and allowing them to gain momentum in their imperialist projects. The big picture goal is to put an end to these injustices perpetrated by Sodexo.

Campus officials, for their part, say they are tied down in a contract that does not expire until 2020, and that cutting ties early would cost more than $1 million, adding the college “does not have a policy of disqualifying contractors based on their client or investment portfolio.”

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