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Students petition for 'TDR Kevin'

Students petition for 'TDR Kevin'
Students call for Kevin Nelson’s return on TDR comment cards outside the dining room.

An AU student started a petition after Bon Appétit fired Kevin Nelson, known as “TDR Kevin,” earlier this week.

School of Public Affairs student Sara McClafferty started the petition calling AU to pressure Bon Appétit to rehire Nelson, who often worked at the ice cream counter.

“TDR Kevin is everyone’s friend,” McClafferty wrote on the petition. “TDR Kevin is an important staple of AU culture. Long Live TDR Kevin!”

As of Oct. 30, the petition had 582 signatures.

The reason for Nelson’s removal is not known at the time, and Bon Appétit and Nelson’s union representative, Lauren Burke, declined to comment.

Nelson is looking to be rehired by Bon Appétit, Burke said.

Students responded to Nelson’s removal with chalk drawings that said “We love Kevin” placed around Mary Graydon Center.

“TDR Kevin is not just a man, not even a legend, he was an idea,” Patrick Sullivan, a senior in SPA, wrote on the online petition as his reason for signing. “The idea that TDR workers and rich AU kids can span their socioeconomic circles and coexist with one another in social environments.”

Students are not the only ones upset with Bon Appétit. TDR cook Antonio Brown believes Bon Appétit fired Kevin because he was eating on the job.

Brown, who has worked at Bon Appétit for four years, said he thought a new Bon Appétit employer is behind Nelson’s removal.

“When he comes to work he comes to fire someone,” Brown said about the new employer.

Sullivan found other employees had unpleasant customer service until he met Nelson.

“My experience with Bon Appétit employees in the four years I have been a student at AU have been overwhelmingly unpleasant,” Sullivan wrote in the petition. “But Kevin Nelson seemed to be the new guy who was changing that stigma for the better.”

hmongilio@theeagleonline.com