Administration Must Return Our Eggs

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 Following student-organized CDS boycotts this past April, the administration offered several changes to available meal plans: $200 in Flex Points tacked onto the first-year and sophomore meal plan, reinstatement of the 200- and 100-meals-per-semester plans available to juniors and seniors, and promises to increase quality, variety, and value at DeCafé. I am proud to have been an organizer in the movement, to have arranged the protest that preceded many of these concessions, and proud of our community for standing up for low-income students and their families.

I am disappointed by our administration’s failure to deliver on many of the commitments it made following the boycott, as well as its neglect of the quality, variety, and overall value of the goods sold at DeCafé. When many students left campus for the summer — and were no longer able to object — the administration made sweeping changes at DeCafé that reduced available options, quality level, and quantity obtainable with meal swipes.

Students returned to campus to find the administration made promises it could not keep regarding these improvements, and that even the so-called “unlimited” meal plan offers a maximum of four swipes a day. 

The plan’s limitations have become clearer in light of the new restrictions on meal swipe usage. Students could previously have as many sides or drinks as they wanted within a $7.50 price limit. Now, we are limited to just two sides and only one drink. Many offerings — despite costing less than half of an entree if purchased with Flex Points and lacking the size or caloric value of an entree — have been reclassified as entrees, meaning you’ll need multiple swipes to eat one as a side. The side limit presents other issues as well. Say goodbye to stocking up for your sports team’s trip or swiping out with enough chips to bring to a party. 

Not satisfied with the reduction in value, the administration took it upon themselves to also attack the quality and variety of our board meals, all for a little bit of money. The available varieties of sandwiches, yogurts, and snack mixes for board meals have been greatly reduced. 

The customized smoothie area — a very popular feature formerly touted by Admissions tour guides — has left DeCafé, relocated to a grab-and-go section in Stevenson. And “bundles designed for home cooks” — a change promised last spring — have yet to be seen. Eggs, nuts, cheese, and frozen food are only available to buy through Flex Points, Obie Dollars, and student charge. For those looking to enjoy the Flex Points we got out of our protest, the value of Flex Points just decreased.

Let’s look at eggs, which were brought to the meal plan last semester. The administration used our eggs as a symbol that they cared what we think, and are working to meet our needs. Eggs are now only available at DeCafé for three times the retail price. 

I really enjoyed my eggs. Saturday morning omelets I’ve cooked inside the (relative) comfort of my dorm have made my weekend on multiple occasions. In taking away our eggs — the symbol of the administration’s respect to student interests — they have taken away something far greater. The fact that they took our eggs from us is offensive, and the way they did it demonstrates a fundamentally flawed approach to student feedback.

The administration’s refusal to listen to student feedback is demonstrative of problems far beyond what they’re taking off our plates. Once again, they have betrayed student interests and are prioritizing profits over people. They are prioritizing profits over students, who deserve the improvements they were told to expect. They are prioritizing profits over keeping their promises. They are prioritizing profits over the College community as a whole when they risk student retention and erode trust in our community through their actions.

There’s still time for the administration to reverse course. There’s still time to rework meal swipe limits to better meet student needs, bring previous offerings back to the board meal section, and deliver on promises to increase variety and improve quality. Perhaps most crucially, there’s still time to return our eggs to their rightful place as part of a board meal. There’s still time for the administration to repair the broken bonds of trust within our community.

The people of our community came to this place because we understand the power of standing up. That power gave us Flex Points and promises, and those promises will be kept. If not, the people will rise.

It is my hope that the administration returns our eggs. It is my hope that the administration keeps their promises and respects our voices. We will not give up until they do. We will not let the administration take our eggs — or our voices.

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