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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Mercer dining employees faces sexual harassment allegations

Students having lunch at the Fresh Food Company.
Students having lunch at the Fresh Food Company.

Mercer’s dining facilities, in particular the cafeteria and Chick-Fil-A, have received complaints from Mercer students regarding employee behavior. Chase Peplin, Student Government Association (SGA) senator and chair of the Contract Services Committee, said students are coming forward with claims of sexual harassment.

“We have received some complaints about how our workers speak to students,” Chris Lockerman, general manager of Mercer Dining, said.

Peplin said SGA is taking steps to address the dining complaints they have received.   

“SGA is responding to reports of ‘sexual harassment’ where employees will make remarks to students that are entirely inappropriate and unacceptable,” Peplin said.

Peplin said SGA is in the process of installing a few preventative regulations after receiving these complaints.

“On behalf of the student body, SGA has called for a tripartite action plan,” Peplin said.

Peplin said the first initiative will be enforcing the cafeteria workers to wear name tags. He said the name tags will allow students to correctly identify each worker. The second enforcement will require the cafeteria workers to take part in sexual harassment training, he said.

Peplin said the third and most effective way to resolve and prevent this issue relies on the Mercer student’s communication. He said students should fill out the survey, a website that uses students’ feedback to enhance their dining experience.

“As long as students either fill out the MyDiningVoice survey or contact me, their concerns will be properly and aptly relayed to Aramark to respond to them,” Peplin said. Aramark is the food providing company that supplies all of Mercer’s dining options on campus.   

Lockerman said he wants to speak to faculty first while they are waiting on student reports to come in.  

“As soon as (the reports) come in, we will begin investigation.” Lockerman said. “If (the claims) are sexual harassment, we will revisit and possibly revise our policy.”

Lockerman said he plans on reinforcing business conduct policies as well as having meetings with all employees to ensure appropriate behavior.   

“We expect all our employees to behave in a professional manner,” Lockerman said.


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