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Originally published Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 11:03 AM

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14 UW students arrested in protest over Sodexo contract

Fourteen students were arrested at the University of Washington on Wednesday evening on charges of criminal trespass after they refused to leave a building that was closed, part of protests over the UW's contract with food-services provider Sodexo.

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Fourteen students were arrested at the University of Washington on Wednesday evening on charges of criminal trespass after they refused to leave a building that was closed, part of protests over the UW's contract with food-services provider Sodexo.

Cmdr. Jerome Solomon, with the University of Washington Police, said the students were cited and released. It was the third time since early May that students have been charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass for the protests involving the university's contract with Sodexo.

He said the students were arrested at the Office of Admissions at Schmitz Hall about 5:35 p.m. The building closed at 5:30 and was not open to the public, Solomon said.

Solomons said 50 students in all have been arrested since May 11.

A student coalition has been urging the university to cancel its contract with Sodexo, alleging the company has violated human rights. The global food-services company supplies concessions at UW athletic facilities under a five-year contract that expires in June 2012.

Two human-rights groups, Human Rights Watch and TransAfrica Forum, have released reports alleging that Sodexo uses intimidation tactics to discourage unionizing and denies their workers breaks or full pay. Sodexo says it does not abuse workers' rights.

"I guarantee the administration's reaction to our rally today has only created more outrage among students on campus and pressure on the administration to terminate the contract with Sodexo will only strengthen into the summer," Morgan Currier, a sophomore involved in the protest, said in a release.

UW spokesman Norm Arkans said Thursday that a committee made up of students, faculty and staff would investigate allegations against Sodexo during the summer. They hope to start in mid-June, Arkans said.

"We are proceeding to undertake the due diligence research to see what lies behind the basis of these allegations," he said.

Material from The Seattle Times archives is included in this report.

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