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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Student Government calls for Parkhurst investigation

The+Student+Government+president+and+vice+president+abstained+from+voting+on+the+resolution.
Photo by Pierson White for The Lafayette
The Student Government president and vice president abstained from voting on the resolution.

Student Government passed a resolution on Thursday calling for the investigation of concerns regarding the mistreatment of dining employees. The resolution, which passed 14-1 with two abstentions, calls for communication between Parkhurst and Student Government as well as the creation of a new committee to investigate the allegations.

Trebor Maitin ‘24, the Student Government parliamentarian, sponsored the resolution alongside Inclusivity Officer Mariama Bah ’24 and representatives Anna Fenkel ’25 and Elle Lansing ’26.

“[Parkhurst Dining] tried to hide behind specific employee concerns being confidential,” Maitin said. “We weren’t asking for specifics of employees. We were asking Parkhurst to defend itself, to tell us what they’re going to do to remedy the situation and to look into it. They wouldn’t even tell us that.”

Maitin, Fenkel and Lansing also work on Student Government’s Ad Hoc Committee on Dining. Fenkel, who attended all of the committee’s meetings with Parkhurst Dining management, expressed similar concerns.

[Parkhurst Dining] very clearly stated that these issues are not under [Student Government’s] purview and these questions have nothing to do with our meeting at hand,” Fenkel wrote in an email. “[Student Government] stated that staff satisfaction directly affects the student experience, making the issue very relevant to our meeting. They still would not give us any information.”

Maitin was also disturbed about Parkhurst Dining’s lack of accountability in addressing these issues, especially in its campus-wide email response.

“Instead of confronting the allegations and saying ‘We will be looking into this. Any sort of wrongdoing, if true, should be categorically condemned,’ they call it misinformation,” Maitin added.

Maitin said that Parkhurst Dining has been given several opportunities to defend itself, and it has so far refused. 

“[Parkhurst Dining’s response is] alarming,” Maitin said. “It speaks to a trend we’re seeing worldwide, where leaders who receive pushback, instead of facing it head on, call it misinformation or fake news … It’s an attack on their own employees who were brave enough to come forward with these concerns to the newspaper, but are then publicly condemned for calling out wrongdoing.” 

The passing of the resolution has two primary goals: forming an investigative committee between the students, faculty and administration, as well as answering questions that the Student Government poses regarding dining.

“There’s this misconception that Student Government is completely powerless, that we can only give recommendations which are ultimately ignored by the administration, the board of trustees and whoever else, but I believe that’s wrong,” Maitin said.

Maitin’s colleagues also agree that Student Government should use its appropriated power to advocate for transparency.

“I believe it is crucial we use our power to ensure everyone at this school — staff and students — are treated with dignity and respect, and Student Government should always do everything in its power to emphasize these values,” Fenkel wrote.

However, not all of Student Government was in favor of the resolution. Representative Chris Kirch ‘26 was the lone vote against the resolution, arguing that while the problems were pertinent, the resolution could have been written more diplomatically. 

“I think we should have been more careful and explicit in the method in which we communicate the resolution to Dining Services and the surrounding context of it,” Kirch said. “I would appreciate further dialogue between student leaders and Student Government to articulate the strength of the assertion towards workers empowerment for those in Dining Services.”

Student Government President Olivia Puzio ‘25 and Vice President Thania Hernandez ‘25 both abstained from the vote over the resolution’s specifics. 

I would have liked to see more points about student accommodations mentioned in the resolution to ensure we continue the conversations regarding dietary accommodations for all students on campus,” Puzio wrote in an email.

Hernandez echoed that sentiment.

“Despite the resolution being a great idea, I felt as though we need more information for workers and clearer student-focused goals,” Hernandez said. 

Hernandez also commented that if Student Government had another week to gather more information, she would have “absolutely one hundred percent voted yes.” In the given moment, however, she felt it was best to abstain.

“We want to find a solution,” Maitin said. “But right now, Parkhurst and the administration refuse to give us that solution. So we wrote the resolution.”

Managing Editor Trebor Maitin ’24 did not contribute writing or reporting. 

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  • K

    Kilgore TroutOct 4, 2023 at 7:25 am

    It appears that Parkhurst’s gaslighting and lack of accountability that it usually reserves for its employees is now also being directed at the student government body. Shameful. Remember folks, Parkhurst is a soulless corporation that values money over everything. It is what corporations are all about. Oh, that, and also avoiding lawsuits.

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