NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - The company that runs dining halls at NYU has issued an apology and has fired two workers after an "inexcusably insensitive" Black History Month meal that included items like barbecued ribs, corn bread, collard greens Kool-Aid and watermelon-flavored water.
School president Andrew Hamilton issued a statement saying: "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."
That student was sophomore Nia Harris. In a Facebook post, she said the head cook dismissed her objections and told her that black employees planned the menu. A source confirmed to Fox5NY.com that one of the fired employees was an African American cook.
In a statement to Fox5NY.com, Aramark said: "We have zero tolerance for any employee who does not adhere to our values or contradicts our longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion."
The statement went on to say: "We are extremely disappointed by this regrettable situation and apologize to the entire NYU community and communities everywhere for their insensitive and offensive actions."
The company says it is re-training all of its NYU campus employees to ensure an similar incident would not happen in the future.
An Aramark spokesperson says that it celebrates several multicultural events throughout the year, including Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick's Day and that they are "carefully developed and planned with the utmost attention to operational execution and cultural sensitivities but in this case "Unfortunately, employees at one of our NYU locations planned an event that they felt celebrated their heritage and foods they enjoyed without our approval or the University’s."