On Thursday, October 12, Huey Magoos ran a steady line of students in the University of Central Florida Student Union late in the evening, long after the lunch rush and 5 p.m. peak of customers passed.
Only an hour away from closing, a shelf holding containers of hot oil used for frying food accidentally opened and spilled on to a student worker behind the grill, burning both of their legs, from the waist, below, through a pair of black jeans.
The student who received the injury swiftly reacted to the incident and soon moved to an unused area of the Huey Magoo’s lineup, removing her still-hot shoes, emotional from the incident. The young employee later walked barefoot to back-of-house and could not be seen returning to the front of the Student Union restaurant.
The student worker who was the catalyst for the incident reportedly held in laughter while her peers stood idle at the register and kitchen stands.
When Knight News requested the incident report from the Student Union administration on the following Monday, the request was deflected.
“Those records are created and maintained by Aramark so we have no records responsive to your request,” the Student Union stated.
Knight News replied from a legal standpoint that it was UCF’s role to provide records pertaining to injury and instances of harm from equipment in the Student Union. The health and safety of UCF’s student certainly was UCF’s business, the argument stated.
The Student Union complied with the public records request three days later, beginning a search of responsive documents. In the meantime, a request was made to Karen Cutler of Aramark’s Education (College and University Dining) department, who did not reply to a request for an incident report.
On October 23, the Student Union’s administration forwarded the request to UCF Business Services – the on-campus office responsible for deals with Aramark and others. Knight News waited for a response before following up with the records request on October 26; the original request for the incident report ten days old.
“This request is now being handled by Business Services. I can only confirm that the Student Union does not have a responsive document,” a Student Union administrator stated to a request to confirm or deny its existence.
Knight News submitted another request on November 1 for the document’s progress to UCF’s Business Services through the Student Union, as Business Services did not have a clear media contact listed on its platforms. The Student Union quickly replied in an email with an inquiry to the UCF Associate General Counsel who, approximately two weeks later, has yet to provide a response.
In a last attempt to obtain a responsive document, both the Student Union and Business Services received a public records request for the report from Knight News on November 13. Neither department produced a file or transcript of the workplace injury that burned the student.
No system for instances of harm to students has been defined by the Student Union. A request for additional reports related to student workplace injuries in the Student Union yielded no documents.
The month-old incident, where there appears to be no record, sheds light on the potential of other instances of harm to UCF’s student employees going unnoticed to the public.
The news coincides with timing on UCF Housing and Residential Life’s alleged behind-closed-door wrongdoing of Residential Assistants during Hurricane Irma, a Category 4 hurricane that struck Florida in September.
If you are a UCF student employee – under agreement from UCF itself or Aramark in the Student Union – and have been injured on the job, past or present, email News@KnightNews.com. You may remain anonymous.