URI hosts Jayaraman as guest speaker

URI is set to host Saru Jayaraman to speak on
URI is set to host Saru Jayaraman to speak on "Inequality and the American Dream." | shutterstock
The University of Rhode Island (URI) hosted Saru Jayaraman as a speaker at the university's Honors Colloquium, titled "Inequality and the American Dream," on Oct. 25.

Jayaraman is a food labor researcher at the University of California-Berkeley and the co-director of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, of which she is also the cofounder.

During her speech, Jayaraman discussed the impact of low-wage, tip-based employment on women and minorities in Edwards Hall on URI's campus.

"Seventy percent of tipped workers in America are women, and disproportionately women of color," she said.
"They face the worst sexual harassment of any industry because they have to tolerate inappropriate customer behavior to earn their income in tips."

Jayaraman cofounded the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United with other workers from the World Trade Center who were displaced due to the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The organization now has more than 18,000 members.

"We founded Restaurant Opportunities Centers United after the terror attacks of Sept. 11 together with displaced World Trade Center restaurant workers as a relief center," Jayaraman said. "It quickly grew into so much more as a result of demand — there had never been a center for restaurant workers before in New York City."

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