Three A’viands employees fired after incident involving racial slur, physical altercation

Kristian Evans, Senior News Editor

Three A’viands employees have been fired following an altercation with an Augsburg student who directed a racial slur at an employee working in The Commons. This altercation occurred on the evening of Dec. 3.

During dinner hours at The Commons, a non-black student approached A’viands worker Marquese Sherman at the pizza-serving area of the cafeteria. The student approached the counter space and ordered Sherman to make the student a sandwich. According to Sherman, who identifies as Black, the student called him the N-word twice.

“He said, make me a sandwich, ‘N-word.’ I tried to ignore him because I wasn’t the one working the sandwich area. He then said the same sentence again, using the same racial slur.”

Sherman’s account lists more antagonistic behavior including threats by the student before the two agreed to meet outside of The Commons area to fight.

Bruce Solomon, another A’viands employee who was working at Nabo at the time, was contacted by Sherman after Sherman completed his shift at 8 p.m. Sherman called Solomon and informed him of the preceding events. Solomon then met Sherman at The Commons and the two, accompanied by another employee, entered Urness Hall in an attempt to find the student who had used the racial slur.

The three eventually found the student in a room in Urness. Other individuals in the room attempted to persuade the two away from an altercation, citing the alleged intoxication of the student. According to Solomon that is when all three A’viands employees then engaged in a physical altercation with the parties present in the Urness room which included the student who used the slur. After the altercation, the three workers exited Urness Hall.

On Dec. 4, Sherman, Solomon and the other A’viands worker were all called into the food service office and were informed that they had been terminated and banned from campus. Sherman was informed that an investigation had been opened regarding possible punishment for the student.

Multiple sources spoke to “The Echo” on the condition of anonymity and confirmed that the incident in The Commons took place. DPS Director Scott Brownell and Food Service Director Jeff Johnson declined to comment while the investigation is ongoing.

The issue comes during a broader discussion of race on campus and was brought up at the Wednesday night Augsburg Day Student Government (ADSG) meeting. Vice President of Student Affairs Ann Garvey cited a need for discretion due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) guidelines as the investigation unfolded. She also added, “No one working here should have to take that kind of crap from our students.”

[Editors’ Note: At press time,“The Echo” is unable to verify nor disclose the identity of the student in question.]

This article was originally published in the Dec. 14, 2018 issue. 

The Commons in Christensen Center. Photo by Kristian Evans.