Jilly’s-WU relationship stands in midst of impending lawsuit
Dining Services will continue its partnership with Jilly’s Cupcake Bar & Cafe pending a trial against the company and its owner, Jill Segal, recently sued for racial discrimination.
The restaurant was sued by a former employee, who was fired a few days after accusing another worker of using a racial slur against him. According to Ira Blank, the company’s and Segal’s attorney, Segal herself was also sued.
According to Danforth Campus Dining Services Manager Paul Schimmele, Dining Services has not yet discussed changing the organization’s partnership with Jilly’s, as the trial has not taken place. He said the state of the partnership will most likely hinge on the outcome of the lawsuits.
“I think it is definitely something we’ll keep an eye on. What we’re waiting to hear is what the whole story is,” Schimmele said.
Students, however, have already taken notice.
“I do like Jilly’s cupcakes, but dealing with the issue is more important than me being able to eat a cupcake,” sophomore MacKenzie Gleason said.
A key part of the suit is that Blank claims that there was no discrimination.
“The company’s position is: There was no harassment, there was no discrimination, there was no abuse,” Blank said.
Director of Marketing & Communications April Powell explained that Dining Services partnered with Jilly’s Cupcake Bar & Cafe, whose cupcakes and ice cream are sold on campus, at the end of March 2015.
Campus Executive Chef Patrick McElroy said that Dining Services looks to support local vendors like Jilly’s.
“We’re always looking for new and exciting local vendors. Jilly’s has a strong name in the community,” McElroy said.
Students hope that the University will take a stand if Segal is found guilty, and some students are acting on the information available already.
Junior Annie Marggraff said that, while she needed more information on the case, she hoped that the University would end its relationship with Jilly’s if discrimination had occurred.
“Obviously we have a lot of African-American employees here, so if that happened here there would be just a massive uproar, so us supporting it is kind of in a way like allowing or supporting it,” Marggraff said.
Senior Schuyler Atkins said she would not frequent Jilly’s, due both to the discrimination allegations and to Segal’s response to the situation.
“I’m never going to eat there now…I’m glad that the employee told. I wouldn’t say that I’m not surprised that that happened, because all different discrimination happens in jobs—sexism, racism, all types of discrimination,” Atkins said. “I think the issue is how the owner responded. Regardless of whatever happened, I think it was handed badly. I think that when that happens, you really have to do a lot of damage control, and I don’t think Jilly’s has done that well. And I just know that I as a black person am not going to go there and know that other black people are not going to go there again.”