The Oberlin Review
<< Front page Commentary September 15, 2006

Campus Dining Complaints, other letters

To the Editors:

“Wow, how long is this line?” “Pretty, pretty, pretty long.” You may be asking yourself what this is referring to. Well if you are a Stevenson eater at lunchtime, then you may know that this is what is being referred to. That what is considered to be a prestigious and academic institution cannot figure out how to efficiently feed one of the smallest student populations in the country.

As I walk into Stevenson the first annoyance that occurs are the doors coming in from the outside. The one on the right does not open and I have to open the one on the left. This may not seem like a big deal but as I recall in the United States it is customary for people to walk, drive and in general stay to the right. I guess ResLife didn’t get the memo.

After I am completely discombobulated from walking right into an exiting student I must now go have my card swiped. As I am about to walk up to eat lunch students are leaving through the narrow passageway that I must get up and this leads to yet another awkward social situation. Now once inside I take a glance and see nothing but a series of lines. I think the Millennium Force at Cedar Point has a shorter line than the classic comforts or the exhibition bar. The only quick options left are the American grill or pizza, both of which become seriously redundant after day two.

After I have grabbed my food, I must wait behind somebody who is getting juice to get my water, as I don’t want it to appear that I am cutting. Now I can finally eat lunch after all of the strife I just endured. But before I can enjoy my hearty meal I must use my athletic abilities to balance my tray, walk around the tightly packed tables and often over people’s stuff to my table. As I eat lunch I sit and notice how beautiful of a fall day it is and long to eat outside. I just sit and stare at the empty balcony where it says, “Stalin is my Homeboy” and think about how intelligent it was to build a balcony with absolutely no functionality. Eventually I finish my lunch and then have the opportunity to wait in another line and watch people struggle to bus a tray.

First let me state that they know long lines are a problem, yet offer a pathetic solution to it, namely: having people wait outside offering candy to encourage kids who just got out of class, to come either later or earlier. Do they ever sit down and think that maybe all the students coming at the same time is no coincidence? I was tempted to leave class early so I could get candy the other day and avoid lunch lines but I think my professor would have frowned upon it.

Other solutions they offer include the science center cart and Dascomb, both of which accept the deduction of a meal as payment. At the science center cart you can get a small sandwich or a salad and another small item. Dascomb, the other cafeteria, differs from Stevenson in that it is not all you can eat and they serve rather small portions. Both of these seem like rather weak alternatives to Stevenson. The only way the school is currently getting away with this is because they have a monopoly on the dining since it is mandatory that students living on campus are on a meal plan.

This would not be that bad if the meal plans were not a complete and total rip off. Here I will break down the scam that is the 14 meal plan. Fourteen meals a week for 14 weeks equal 196 meals per semester. It costs $1920 toward actual meals on their rate plan. Divide $1920  with 196 meals and you get an average of $9.80 for every meal used. If I were to pay cash to eat at Stevenson I would have only have to pay $4.45 for breakfast, $6.35 for Lunch and $8.00 for dinner. Usually in the real world, when you buy quantity and guarantee your business you get a deal. But why be that courteous when you can just take people’s money without them having any other alternative.

“Well if you drop meals than you get more money put towards flex points!” which sadly yet again with no other choice must be spent at The DeCafé. I propose that flex points be available to use at other institutions in the town. With this, it would boost the local economy and students would be able to enjoy Oberlin’s fine cuisine. Another “rip off” is that meals do not carry over week to week, so in essence if I have a few meals left over than I am flushing money down the toilet. I suggest that if they are going to take my money without giving me anything in return that they donate those funds to help feed starving people in the world.

So Stevenson if you are wondering why people steal loaves of bread, fill their gallon containers with milk and get a china set for their room,  now you know.

­—Noah Goldman
College sophomore

To the Editors:

The first weekend in October will produce an influx of color to Oberlin’s campus and I’m not just talking about the autumnal foliage. October 6-8, 2006, the Oberlin Alumni Association of African Ancestry (OA4) will host its sixth reunion, “And We Rise!  Celebrating Over 170 of the Black Presence at Oberlin College.” As a result, Black alums from prior decades will be on campus reconnecting with former classmates, making new friends and sharing their Oberlin experiences. In addition, we will take the time to honor those who guided us through our Oberlin experiences and helped us to Rise! Rise! above racism borne out of ignorance and indifference. Rise! with one voice to honor our heritage. Rise! in celebration of our differences. It is through their struggle and example that so many alums have been able to Rise! 

We have a long tradition of leading by example. My son, Jared Glenn, OC ’07, is a legacy student. His father, Everett Glenn, OC ’74, and I are Oberlin grads. When Jared was around two–years-old, we returned to Oberlin to hear the commencement speaker, Bishop Desmund Tutu. Afterwards, Bishop Tutu spoke briefly at African Heritage House. Jared was standing on my lap while Bishop Tutu spoke and began to mimic his every move. As you can see, Jared began performing at an early age. Bishop Tutu saw Jared and began speaking about living by example. He pointed Jared out to prove his point.

It is our hope that by being on campus during a non-traditional reunion month, we will lead by example, you will follow our lead and one day become active alums. So...when you see us on campus, stop us to ask about our experience at Oberlin and maybe share yours with us. Together, we will continue to Rise!

­—Jackie Hughes OC ’76
Chair, Oberlin Alumni Association of African Ancestry
Executive Board Member
Oberlin Alumni Association


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