Members of the Black Students Association (BSA) this weekend threw their support behind a former Harvard Dining Services (HDS) employee who was dismissed three months after charging that he was racially harassed at the Harvard Union dining hall.
The employee, Darryl Hicks, who is Black, was fired by HDS Director Michael P. Berry on April 2. Last December, Hicks filed state and federal complaints alleging discrimination at the Union. In interviews with The Crimson, Hicks also said he was harassed for being a labor union shop steward.
Harvard issued an official denial of the discrimination charges last week, calling Hicks "a disruptive, difficult employee with a poor attendance record."
According to BSA member Tymothi O. Tombar '96, the BSA will co-sponsor a student petition drive with the Harvard-Radcliffe Labor Alliance (HRLA). The students hope to begin distributing the petition at a BSA general meeting on Wednesday.
"The BSA's position is one of support for the dining hall workers," Tombar said. "We understand what went on with Darryl Hicks and we realize that a number of things were wrong."
HRLA leaders last week presented a list of demands to Diane Patrick, director of the University's Office of Human Resources, that included a call for Hicks' reinstatement and for a "full-scale" investigation into problems at Harvard's dining halls.
Hicks said last night that he is appreciative of the student support.
"I never had any doubt they were going to back me," Hicks said. "It means a lot. I'm very grateful."
"It's an issue that concerns all minorities at the University," Hicks added. "Harvard better wake up."
In addition to the student petition, several HDS shop stewards are circulating a petition demanding Hicks' reinstatement. That petition is expected to be submitted to HDS management later this week.
According to his secretary, Berry was out of the country last week and was unavailable for comment