19 students and alumnus of Ohio State University (OSU) began a week long hunger strike to pressure the Ohio State University to end Wendy’s restaurant’s lease in Wexner Medical Center- and “boot the braids.” The students borrowed a protest tactic from the University of Missouri playbook, after a two-year long battle with the fast-food franchise. In 2014, activists began targeting the restaurant when the corporate Wendy’s refused to sign on the Fair Food Program, which promotes better conditions and fair pay for American agricultural workers.
While announcing the hunger strike on Facebook, an activist said: “Wendy’s represents the worst of corporate greed locally and nationally.”
Though the fast-food restaurant’s opponents haven’t yet succeeded in shuttering it, they won a concession from Wendy’s, according to The Lantern: they convinced OSU to add language to Wendy’s lease stating that the restaurant would work toward “a resolution of the concerns of the Student Farmworkers Alliance regarding the procurement of tomatoes for the operation of Tenant’s business at the Premise that is satisfactory to Landlord in its sole discretion.”
However, representatives from Ohio State Student/Farmworker Alliance, one of the groups responsible for this week’s hunger strike, reversed course, refusing to meet with the restaurant. OSU allowed Wendy’s to renew its contract.
On Monday, protesters filed into the office of OSU President Michael Drake to hand-deliver a letter demanding the university end its contract with Wendy’s when the restaurant’s lease at Wexner Center expires in December.
Since Monday protesters have been camping outside Bricker Hall, administrative building, at times succeeding at coaxing administrators, including senior vice president for student life Javaune Adams-Gaston, outside to speak with them.