Peaceful student-led sit-in begins the day before more than 800 farmworkers, students, and allies from across the country march on President Drake’s office on International Women’s Day calling for OSU to cut its contract with Wendy’s until it joins the Fa
Dozens of kids sitting around an office with a tomato sign that says Dignity

Photos by Liz Andromeda

On March 7 at 3:15 PM, 25 members of the Ohio State University community including undergraduate and graduate students, staff , and alumni entered Bricker Hall and began a sit-in outside of President Drake’s office to demand OSU end its business relationship with the fast food giant Wendy’s. The sit-in is the latest escalation of the years-long, student-led “Boot the Braids” campaign to remove Wendy’s from campus during which students have fasted, and marched, in protest of the fact that Wendy’s refuses to protect farmworker human rights by joining the CIW’s Presidential Medal-winning Fair Food Program.

Students and other sit-in participants have pledged to remain outside of President Drake’s office within Bricker Hall until 4:00 PM on International Women’s Day, Friday, March 8 when the 800+ person March for Farmworker Justice arrives outside of the building.  “Just months ago, President Drake declared that he wants to be ‘a national leader in preventing and responding to sexual misconduct’. Yet, he refuses to cut ties with Wendy’s, which has rejected and undermined the nation’s leading solution to sexual violence in U.S. agriculture: The Fair Food Program.”  Said Rachael Birri, a Junior at OSU who joined the sit-in. “We are sitting in because we cannot allow our school to be complicit in sexual harassment and assault of farmworker women. We will not stop fighting until OSU cuts its contract with Wendy’s.”

The Fair Food Program was named one of the top 15 “most important social-impact stories of the past century,” in the Harvard Business Reviewand was called “the best workplace monitoring program in the U.S.” on the front page of the New York Times.  The Program has harnessed the purchasing power of more than a dozen of the world’s largest retail food companies, including fast food chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King, to end decades of sexual assault, forced labor, and other human rights abuses on participating farms.