Students split on Grease Truck names

The Daily Targum – Page One
Issue: 2/16/05

Students split on Grease Truck names
By John Soltes / Associate Inside Beat Editor

Duct tape continues to hide Grease Truck menu items that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community members said were offensive.

The controversy erupted last week over the names of certain sandwiches served at the Grease Trucks on the College Avenue campus. The University community is varied in its response to the incident, when the Department of Parking and Transportation Services demanded the trucks cover up sandwich names such as “Fat Dyke” and “Fat Bitch” because they violate their contract.

A Grease Truck worker – who wished to be identified as “Mr. C” – was visibly upset yesterday about covering up certain names on his truck.

“I’m very upset. We’re all very upset,” he said. “I’ve been selling [Fat] Bitches for 14 years.”

John Graney, assistant director of Operations at Parking and Transportation Services, asked Mr. C to cover up the names as soon as possible.

But Mr. C said he has never had a complaint about the menu names.

“Everybody’s happy with the Bitches,” he said.

Cheryl Clarke, the University’s director of Diverse Community Affairs and LGBT Concerns, said she recently found out about the names herself.

“We walked down to the trucks and saw the hostile names,” Clarke said.

Reaction on campus from students has been mixed, with some students upset about the changing of the names, while others happy to see them gone.

Rutgers College senior Heather Mount said she has never eaten a Grease Truck sandwich but likes the decision to change the names.

“If people took offense, then [the decision is] a good thing,” she said.

Bonnie Schubert, a Rutgers College sophomore, said she does not understand the need to change the names and was never offended.

“They’re just words, just something funny,” she said. “If they didn’t want to eat there, they could choose to go somewhere else.”

Rutgers College sophomore Barjdeep Kaur said she doesn’t believe that covering up the names was necessary.

“I don’t think it really mattered,” she said. “If you don’t like the names, don’t buy the sandwich.”

The controversy emerged when members of the LGBT community on campus said they were offended by the names of certain sandwiches. The outcry was brought to the attention of PATS, and all names deemed offensive were asked to be taken down, otherwise a citation would be issued to the offending Grease Truck.

Kathy Lopes, a Rutgers College sophomore, said she’s concerned about all the changes that have to take place to please everyone.

“Everyone’s all stuffy. Now, the food has to change their name,” she said. “Soon everything will have to change.”

Some students have come forward, saying the Grease Trucks further created an offensive atmosphere, with employees making sexually suggestive comments to customers, as another form of harassment.

But one Grease Truck employee said he has many gay and lesbian customers and friends.

“They never complain,” he said.

Eileen Mcelhaney, a crime analyst with the Rutgers University Police Department, said there were no investigative reports of harassment near the Grease Trucks or Lot 8 this academic year so far from September to Feb. 1.

The Grease Trucks are housed on the University property in Lot 8 on College Avenue.

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