Grease Trucks cover up

The Daily Targum – Page One
Issue: 2/11/05

Grease Trucks cover up
By Michael Reilly / Correspondent

The Grease Trucks, a staple of University life, were forced to cover up several of the items on their menus last night in order to comply with University rules following complaints of harassment and inappropriate sandwich names.

The cluster of fast-food trucks – which open at 6 p.m. and close early in the morning – have been the source of food for Rutgers students, staff and faculty alike on College Avenue.

The complaints have mainly come from members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community at the University, who said they have experienced a different side of the trucks – one they see as being homophobic and intolerant toward sexual minorities on campus.

John Garney, assistant director of Operations at Parking and Transportation Services, said he has spoken to the trucks’ owners and has gained their assurance that any offensive sandwich titles will be changed and the signs taken down.

But he didn’t stop there. Garney warned the owners that if the signs weren’t at least covered by 6 p.m. last night, he would issue a citation to any offending truck and shut that truck down for the evening.

At approximately that time, one of the owners – who wished to be identified only as “Sam” – was out placing duct tape over nearly half of the names on the sides of the truck.

“I don’t like it. I’m going to lose a lot of business,” he said. “These names are attractive to people. They’re extraordinary. Besides, they don’t complain about the names in [the pizza places on] Easton Ave.”

He added that he would now have to replace two of the signs on one of the trucks, which may cost $1,000.

According to some in the LGBT community, the trucks use offensive terms, such as “Fat Bitch” and “Fat Dyke” as names for the grease-laden sandwiches they produce.

Although the offensive terms are now covered, Garney also said they must remain that way. If not, “University Police will shut them down until we are satisfied,” he said.

The trucks, he said, “are under a contract with the University, and any changes in language on the trucks must be approved by the University.”

Garney said the current signs on the trucks – which display the offensive sandwich titles – weren’t approved and are therefore in breach of contract with the University.

Although the contracts do not specify the trucks are prohibited from displaying offensive language, “there are elements in the contracts, broad statements designed to protect the student body,” Garney said.

Despite the possibility of being penalized for their transgressions, Garney said all of the owners have agreed to change their signs, and he does not expect any further problems from the trucks on this issue.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a big to-do,” he said.

University officials have taken it upon themselves to deal promptly with the issue of offensive sandwich names, Garney said.

Francis said she was very pleased with the quick results obtained in changing the sandwich names.

“This is part and parcel of social progress,” she said. “It may seem small, but these [sandwich names] are part of a general climate of insensitivity toward the LGBT community and a lack of respect for racial ethnic and national differences, as well as for women as a whole.”

Not everyone said the names should have been covered.

Milan Shah, a Livingston College senior, thought the whole thing may be a bit overblown.

“It’s kind of silly for them to be forced to cover it up,” Shah said.

| – Mike New and Arielle Gomberg contributed to this story

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