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They came to boycott WWU’s on-campus food provider, but somebody put pot in the pasta

Western Washington University students walking to class in Red Square in 2013. Two people were treated and released at the Western Washington University Student Health Center after reportedly eating pasta that included marijuana at an on-campus protest of Aramark Friday.
Western Washington University students walking to class in Red Square in 2013. Two people were treated and released at the Western Washington University Student Health Center after reportedly eating pasta that included marijuana at an on-campus protest of Aramark Friday. The Bellingham Herald file

Two people were treated and released at the Western Washington University Student Health Center after reportedly eating pasta that included marijuana at an on-campus protest Friday, according to the school.

University police are investigating the incident, which occurred at the planned “Boycott Aramark” protest in Red Square hosted by the WWU Shred the Contract student group, WWU communications director Paul Cocke told The Bellingham Herald.

The student group posted a social media alert about the pasta, saying on Facebook and Reddit: “some community members showed up with their own table and prepared food to share with boycott participants. One of the foods being served was a pesto pasta. We have just become aware that this pasta contained some kind of marijuana, and we are working on finding and contacting the individuals who brought this food.”

Cocke noted that the social media alert was sent out by the student group and not the university.

“Western ... is re-evaluating procedures and working with the student group to prevent future occurrences,” he told The Herald. “Please also note that Western’s contracted dining partner, Aramark, did not supply this food in question. Western places a top priority on food safety.”

According to WWU Shred the Contract’s Facebook post announcing the protest, the group was boycotting on-campus food served by Aramark for one meal because it says the company owns a “near-monopoly” for on-campus dining and also has contracts with a large number of jails and prisons in the United States. The boycott, which the group said was intended to support locally owned businesses on Western’s campus, was part of an “International Day of Action” organized by students at five schools, according to the post.

In the alert about the pasta, the group said that one of the boycott’s organizers felt “extreme effects” after eating a small amount of the pasta and that it has been contacted by others who also felt ill, asking for anyone else who may have eaten the pasta to reach out.

“We sincerely apologize for not being more vigilant with checking in with these people before they began serving food.,” the group said in the post. “We are disappointed and frustrated that this incident occurred and led to difficult situations for some people and derailed the focus of the action itself.”

The group declined a request for further comment from The Bellingham Herald.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
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