Contracted worker banned from Hamilton College after making racial slurs on Facebook

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CLINTON — A contracted worker who had only worked at Hamilton College one month before COVID-19 closed the campus, has been banned from the school after a video showing him making racial slurs and comments surfaced on social media.

The individual, identified as Barry Wardell, was employed by Bon Appetit Management Company, which provides food services to the college, according to a statement made by Hamilton College.

Hamilton College President David Wippman responded to the incident by making a public comment that such behavior would not be tolerated at the college.

"A Facebook video came to our attention this morning, showing someone who previously worked at the college as a contract employee of our food services provider making despicable racist slurs,” stated Wippman. "I am appalled by what is on the video. He will not work here again and has been banned from our campus effective immediately."

The college president continued, "The behavior shown on the video is an extreme violation of our community standards and will not be tolerated. We will review our own and our contractors’ employee screening and training policies to be sure appropriate requirements are in place."

Wippman said he also planned to reach out to the Utica resident who was the target of Wardell's comments.

"I want her to know that racism and bigotry of any kind will not be tolerated at Hamilton College,” he said.

The video that surfaced on Facebook Sunday, June 28 depicts Wardell shouting racial slurs toward a passing car in Utica, with an African-American woman at the wheel. Wardell was captured yelling, “Black lives don’t matter,” from the passenger side of a vehicle on Genesee Street.

According to Bon Appetit, Wardell was hired by the company earlier in the year and worked at Hamilton College for a month in February before being placed on leave due to the pandemic.

"Bon Appétit Management Company was made aware this morning of a video capturing an employee making racist statements. Our HR team is already investigating the incident, and we will take swift and appropriate action,” said Bonnie Powell, director of Communications for Bon Appetit, in a statement. "Although Bon Appétit Management Company’s usual policy is not to discuss individual personnel matters, because of the extreme and public nature of this act, we can state that the employee in question was hired in February and worked for us for one month before being placed on leave due to COVID-19. Bon Appétit has a zero tolerance policy regarding racism. We condemn these vile comments whole-heartedly."

Bon Appetit officials said Wardell no longer works for the company headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif.

Utica Police are investigating the incident.

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