A university in Chicago is under fire after a Black History Month-themed sign in the dining hall rubbed some students the wrong way.
In an effort to commemorate Black History Month, Loyola University opted to serve fare reportedly inspired by black culture.
However, a sign encouraging students to try the cuisine didn’t go over too well with the university’s student body.
“Black History Month: Try our African American Cuisine,” the sign read, “popular in the African American community.”
While the statement itself isn’t offensive, it was the meal that sat below it that caused campus-wide outrage.
As noted by the school’s newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix, the meal featured fried chicken, collard greens, “black eye peas salad,” maple mashed sweet potatoes and grape Kool-Aid.
This can’t be real ??♂️ https://t.co/iTFujY9Yhy
— Milton Doyle (@MDLU35) February 10, 2018
Kevin Drummond, a student at Loyola, stated that the inclusion of Kool-Aid made her feel “uncomfortable.”
“There was no need for (Dining Services) to pull out purple Kool-Aid and serve that and pass that off as part of an African American cuisine,” she told the school newspaper. “I felt like it was disrespectful.”
Another student believed that the sign was “disrespectful,” but shouldn’t be a cause for hysteria.
“I think it’s disrespectful on a level because they pulled out the stereotypical meals, but it could have been worse,” he stated.
A third student revealed to The Loyola Phoenix that the sign wasn’t offensive to him.
“Personally, I don’t find it damaging in any kind of way,” Keion Humphrey said. “How are you supposed to diversify yourself and your background if you are not being exposed to different things?”
He added: “Labeling something as ‘African American cuisine’ isn’t the best way of doing it, but who is it hurting?”
The backlash from some students on campus ultimately led the university to post an apology on the Dine Loyola Facebook page.
“One of our core values is integrity and respect always,” the statement began.
“While the intention of the onsite team was not to offend patrons, we fully recognize that the execution of the promotion was done in an insensitive way,” the apology continued.
The university assured readers that the incident was “isolated” and they would work to “retrain” all staff members.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the sign was removed by an Aramark employee after rumblings of student disapproval began surfacing.
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