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Students Want To Kick Wendy's Off The OSU Campus

Esther Honig
Students rallied with Immokalee workers on Friday, Oct. 7, to demand that OSU end its contract with Wendy's.

Relations between students and Wendy's are getting a little frosty at The Ohio State University.

Members of the Student/Farmworker Alliance held a rally Friday afternoon with agricultural workers, demanding that OSU does not renew a contract with Wendy's.

There has been a Wendy's franchise location at the Wexner Medical Center since the 1990s. But because the restaurant chain has refused to join the Fair Food Program -- a national partnership that insures fair pay and safer conditions for US agricultural workers -- students like Ben Wibking say they don't want their university to be a part of injustice practices.

"We're asking Ohio State to keep its promises, and President Drake to keep his promise, by kicking Wendy's off campus since Wendy's hasn't done the right thing by farm workers," Wibking said.

The Fair Food Program partnership has gained recognition by United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights for their success in protecting workers' rights. Unlike Burger King, McDonald's and Taco Bell, Wendy's has refused to join the partnership.

Workers like Santiago Perez have traveled all the way from Florida to Columbus, Ohio, to advocate for the Project.

"This place is key because the headquarters of Wendy's is here," Perez said. "That's why we're here, to demand that they unite with the workers." 

The lease for the Wendy's franchise ends this December. Ben Johnson, director of media relations at OSU, says that the university understands students' concerns.

"We have been in dialogue with the students and with Wendy’s, and we intend to meet further with them," Johnson said in an email. "We look forward to bringing closure to this issue over the next several weeks, pursuant to the terms of the current contract."

According to the student group, OSU made a promise last year that they would not renew the lease unless Wendy's complied with student concerns.