Former Foundry worker recalls harassment, traumatic environment


Collegian | Lucy Morantz

The Foundry dining center at Colorado State University Feb. 7.

Bella Walser

Samy Gentle, Staff Reporter

The Foundry dining center on campus employs a number of workers. A former employee came forward about their experience.

“(Working at The Foundry) was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life,” Arlo Sanchez wrote in an email to The Collegian. 


Sanchez was a temporary employee working at The Foundry dining hall during the 2021-22 school year.

During their time at The Foundry dining hall, Sanchez dealt with cases of sexual harassment, transphobia and bad work conditions. 

Sanchez described The Foundry as having a locker room-type atmosphere and being a “boy’s club.” They witnessed older male coworkers feeling like they could touch female employees on the shoulder, for example, without asking. 

Sanchez also recalled an event when a male employee was sexually harassing his ex-girlfriend. He was then given a verbal warning by management, and no other repercussions followed. 

There’s no real accountability,” Sanchez said. “There needs to be significant improvements towards work culture, rule enforcement and reprimands for violations. Management allows harassment of many kinds to occur without consequences, which is what causes the repeated offenses.”

In response to Sanchez’s experiences, Housing & Dining Services told The Collegian that Residential Dining Services is continuing its efforts to cultivate an inclusive workplace.

“The Director of Residential Dining Services has been meeting with every staff member over the course of this semester, seeking feedback on their experience as an employee and providing space for all staff to voice their ideas, concerns and questions,” an HDS spokesperson wrote.

Sanchez was also affected by transphobia from Colorado State University employees. They said coworkers regularly misgendered them, with one woman even referring to them as “it.”

Sanchez said they brought these issues to their supervisor, Liz Poore, the RDS director. Sanchez said Poore suggested they wear a pronoun pin, which Sanchez had already been wearing during the incidents of misgendering. 


Additionally, after discussions of transphobia, Sanchez said Poore informed them she would make sure a certain employee would offer an apology to Sanchez for misgendering them. Sanchez said they never received the apology. 

“I think a lot of the issues at The Foundry are because of the management there. I just want people to know there are consequences because CSU does have those policies in place. The (Foundry) just needs to follow those policies.” -Arlo Sanchez, former Foundry worker

“Depending on the circumstances, these matters may be referred to other university offices for further action,” HDS wrote to The Collegian. “In addition, the person who reports a concern is given access to university support services. If an employee or student is found to have acted inappropriately, there is a range of disciplinary actions the university may take.”

Sanchez went to the Pride Resource Center to request pronoun training for their coworkers, which they said was not successful. 

“It was very hard to sit there and just watch my coworkers make jokes and just see that they were not taking any of it seriously,” Sanchez said. 

That wasn’t the only training for Foundry staff.

“Residential Dining provides quite a bit of training and education centered around inclusion in the workplace,” an HDS spokesperson wrote. One training is titled “Understanding the Inclusive Workplace,” and employees have to receive a perfect score.

Student staff are required to take a course called “Inclusive Kitchens,” which discusses skills to foster an inclusive workplace as well as education on sexual harassment, according to HDS.

Misgendering was also a problem outside of The Foundry. In one instance, Sanchez said they experienced an injury on the job and were in contact with the Workers’ Compensation department at CSU. 

“My supervisor made it clear to them that I use they/them pronouns, and it was really dysphoric to see all these emails about me as referred to as she/her,” Sanchez said. I even went through the (Office of Equal Opportunity) to address the misgendering, and it wasn’t a resolution by any means. They would just talk with the person. That’s it. There (are) no consequences.”

Also regarding their injury and dealings with Workers’ Compensation, Sanchez said one of the individuals who filled out their paperwork told the Workers’ Compensation department that Sanchez had injured their back prior to their injury on the job. 

Sanchez was unsure of who reported this to Workers’ Compensation, but it was their first time having such an injury. Sanchez then hired a lawyer who assisted in getting their medical debts paid and ensuring the worker’s compensation was processed. 

“If I didn’t get any legal involvement, I would have been out of luck,” Sanchez said. 

The Foundry’s workplace environment was also a negative experience for Sanchez. 

People don’t take breaks,” Sanchez said. “If you take breaks, you get shit for it.”

While not guaranteed, 15-minute breaks are generally given by management to employees during eight-hour work days. Sanchez said this happened extremely rarely at The Foundry.

This work environment also included accounts of racism.

“I noticed the international students got reprimanded for a lot more things versus the white students,” Sanchez said. “Especially the Indian students. I feel like they got targeted a lot. I even heard one (state classified employee) say ‘The Indian students are lazy.’”

Sanchez believes the work environment at The Foundry is unique when compared to the other dining halls on campus.

“I have worked at the other dining halls, but they are a lot better than The Foundry,” Sanchez said. “I think a lot of the issues at The Foundry are because of the management there. I just want people to know there are consequences because CSU does have those policies in place. The (Foundry) just needs to follow those policies.”

Reach Samy Gentle at or on Twitter @samy_gentle_.