Faculty Assembly seeks more information on Sodexo layoffs


Faculty Assembly members were troubled by a Pitt News article that revealed that “a majority” of its 400 to 500 Sodexo workers were laid off without pay over spring break.

After a short discussion in a Zoom chat, Senate Council President Chris Bonneau told members at the April 2 meeting that the situation is “awful.”

“Sodexo should do the right thing and pay their employees,” Bonneau said.

The contract with Sodexo, which has been Pitt’s dining contractor for nearly 30 years, expires on June 30. Compass Group will become Pitt’s new dining contractor on July 31.

Ben Bratman, a professor of legal writing, was especially vocal about looking for ways to aid the workers as quickly as possible since the “need is pretty urgent.”

Tyler Bickford, an associate professor in the Department of English, said Pitt may have some leverage to help compensate workers if Pitt stopped paying Sodexo shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the University to close its doors. The situation may be different if Sodexo received full payment for its contract with the University but decided not to compensate workers.

Assembly members ultimately decided to press Pitt administrators on the exact details on the situation and what, if anything, can be done to support the workers. Bonneau said he would speak to administrators soon for more information.

Other issues discussed:

Cynthia Golden, executive director of the University Center for Teaching and Learning, said that at the moment, even though the Center has been looking into remote proctoring software for more than a year, University-wide remote proctoring software solution won’t be available “in the next couple of weeks.”

“For the University, it’s very complex,” Golden said. “And what our consultants are really trying to do is recommend that faculty consider alternatives to the kind of traditional exams they have given before. And we’ve got people available to help with that.”

Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at dharrell@pitt.edu or 412-383-9905.


Have a story idea or news to share? Share it with the University Times.

Follow the University Times on Twitter and Facebook.