The Student Association vocalized student support to bring Manouchehr Nava’s hot dog vending business on campus with a resolution last week. Nava, popularly known among students as “Manouch,” said he is currently approaching the University about selling food late at night on campus.
“It’s just a simple thing to allow Manouch to vend on campus,” said Sen. Dan Moss (U-SBPM), who sponsored the SA resolution. “I’m sure they can find some 10-by-10 piece of space.”
Nava operates a hot dog stand outside Tower Records after hours set by D.C. vending regulations and regularly pays fines to the city for the violation. He said Metropolitan Police has recently pressured him to move onto private property.
“Some D.C. laws are pretty pointless,” sophomore Henry Jinich said. “It seems to me like a waste of D.C. police resources investigating illegal food selling when we have murders, drugs and terrorist threats in our city.”
Moss said the resolution passed unanimously. It summarizes Nava’s contributions to campus and requests the University to “assist Manouch and his vending operations by providing support that would allow his operations to continue.”
SA President Roger Kapoor said he will meet with University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg this week to discuss the possibility of bringing Nava on campus.
“I’m sure we’ll make some ground,” Kapoor said. “Something will obviously come out of it, whether it be good or bad.”
Nava said he spoke to GW Managing Director for Business Services Michael Peller Friday.
“He was very helpful, and I didn’t even go to him,” Nava said. “But he said I have to ask him formally (to do business on campus) in a letter.”
On Thursday Peller said the two parties would have to negotiate issues like insurance and payment.
“If you have a home, and a hot dog vendor wanted to use your driveway to vend, you’d have a lot of questions,” Peller said. “Would we have to provide the water to boil the hot dogs? What happens if he drops ketchup on the driveway?”
Nava said he has put together a presentation for the University with letters and Hatchet articles.
Officials from Aramark, which runs GW food operations, said the company wishes to remain the sole food provider on campus.
Aramark Marketing Director Jared Levin said “obviously we want to drive (other food providers) out of business and we will,” but Aramark will follow the University’s decision about Nava.
Trachtenberg’s office manager said the president was not interested in discussing the subject.
Nava said he respects Trachtenberg and believes he can negotiate with the University.
Throughout the process, Nava said he has remained optimistic because he has had support from the GW community since he started vending near the campus 16 years ago.
“In my second year, The Hatchet put me on the front page, and Student President Adam Freidman sent me my first student letter in 1986,” Nava said.
Nava said he has faced legal pressures before.
One GW Law student wrote a legal proposition for Nava about 10 years ago supporting his vending because of the unique characteristics of the GW community and the substantial benefits that Nava brings to the campus.
“I got 1,300 petitions from students,” Nava said. But he said the resolution was never directed to the appropriate officials because “I’m not good at law and don’t know the legal process.”
Some students continue to support Nava’s business.
“All my friends go at all hours of the night. I think the whole novelty of him is that he is open late at night,” freshman Katie Barrios said.
But not all students agree. Freshman Chris Backert said he hopes Nava will continue to work independently.
” If Manouch moves on to GW campus, then he gets subject to the rules, regulations and sanctions of the GW bureaucracy,” Backert said. “Manouch represents something individual, free and good.”