On the day when Time magazine announced that its person of the year was "The Protester" (see: Egypt, Zuccotti Park, Wisconsin, Syria, Tunisia, London, and just in time, Moscow), it's fitting that the UW made an announcement of its own.
They are meeting student protest demands by choosing Philadelphia-based food service company ARAMARK for its stadium concession contract instead of the controversial Sodexo company.
Sodexo, a French food service company, has been accused of labor and human rights abuses and has been the target of union and student activism—and several student protests this year at UW. Sodexo had a $3.4 million contract with the UW. The UW says the decision to go with ARAMARK was mainly based on the fact that ARAMARK had a better bid. The bidding process did include a corporate social responsibility criterion thanks to this year's student protests.
Student activist and UW junior Katy Lundgren said:
A year after students began this campaign about Sodexo’s human rights record, I am so glad the administration finally took responsibility for workers’ rights. This is indisputably what our University should be doing - setting an example of global responsibility for its students and for the global community. All the actions we did on campus to kick out Sodexo have really made a difference.
High school students are also in the mood to protest. Students from Roosevelt High School in North Seattle staged a walkout this afternoon and marched to the UW to protest education budget cuts. Their slogan: "You cut school, so we cut class."
K-12 education has already taken $2.5 billion in hits over the last three years when you include the cancellation of planned cost-of-living pay increases. With the state facing an additional $1.5 budget shortfall, $334 million in K-12 cuts are now on the table, including reducing funding for schools in poorer districts by 50 percent for $150 million, reducing the school year by four days for $99 million, and reducing certified teacher bonuses for $8 million.