Some Morehouse and Spelman students go on hunger strike to help needy classmates

7:24 a.m. Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 Education
Hyosub Shin/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Morehouse College interim president Harold Martin eats with students in the crowded cafeteria on campus on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. A HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

A group of students at Morheouse and Spelman colleges said Thursday they’re beginning a hunger strike to change a policy they say prevents them from helping classmates suffering from hunger.

The students want to transfer portions of their meal plans to classmates who can’t afford to buy meals on campus, but say a provision in the meal plan policy prevents them from doing so.

Spelman sophomore Joi Stewart said in a telephone interview at least two dozen students are participating in the hunger strike. She said about 1,500 students on the campuses are at risk of being food insecure.

“I’m okay with foregoing a meal so that my Spelman sister who hasn’t eaten in two days can eat,” Spelman student Mary-Pat Hector said in a Facebook video. “I’m okay with foregoing a meal so my Morehouse brother who hasn’t eaten in a day can eat.”

Aramark, the meal plan vendor for Spelman, said college officials would have to request any changes. Karen Cutler, a spokeswoman for the company, said it can develop such a plan with the college.

Spelman spokeswoman Joyce Davis said in a statement that Hector has raised an important issue on the campuses and administrators will look into how they can improve the situation.

“No student should go hungry,” Davis said. “We look forward to working with Aramark as we continue to explore the extent of the problem.”

A Morehouse spokeswoman said late Thursday she’s checking with administrators about the issue.

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