Thoughts on Issues, Part II

Ok, While I seriously, seriously need to get some work done, two comments:

Aramark was “bad’ less because the food was bad and mostly because it chose specifically to ignore student wants. I think, in all fairness, if they listened to student concerns (“Hey, can dinner be longer?Can we have something to eat on the weekends, please? Can we have vegetarian options? Can you label your foods so I know which ones have peanuts in them so I don’t die? Kthnx.”) we probably wouldn’t have outed them. While I think people had the right to complain about quality, I think the bigger concern was people were asking for tiny changes that Aramark just could not put in place. It said it would and just never delivered.

BA is sort of responding to complaints with: “OH, but we are doing this!” when they’re not which in my opinion is unfair. They tell us they’re paying the workers well and that the food costs are the same as the previous years. If they write it down, they think, then that’s solved the problem.

The problem is with Wesleyan’s administration when it comes to student issues; they might work with you on problems, but they’re not going to work very hard. I can tell you I’ve had issues with financial aid, reslife, etc, (actually not with the registrar ever, though) where it would be just an issue of reading a website or reading an email and they still wouldn’t do it. They’d skim it, misinterpret it and and spit you out an answer that was unhelpful or basically them giving up on the problem and then smile as they absolve themselves of your issue. There is absolutely no accountability and incompetence is never punished. It’s fairly obvious to me in the three + years I’ve been here that they don’t take student concerns very seriously. They treat us like ignorant babies and wait for a parent to call in to fix the problem. As an independent person, this approach has infuriated me in ways you would not believe.

So BA’s approach is to tell Dean Rick that all is well and Dean Rick says, “Kids, shut up. Everything’s fine.” Then he sends out an email to your parents saying, “Your kids are babies. They can stagger their lunches and you can help them learn to budget their points with this menu guide we made for you.” So there’s no actual investigation into how students are eating if they’re eating. No one is seeing if upperclassmen are eating at Usdan at all. No one is seeing if their grand plan to merge two huge buildings into one has worked. No real investigation into how labor is being treated (because despite what the WSA may say in our comments, I and others actually *talk* to the workers and they’re still not happy.) No, the tactic is to tell us to shut up and that everything’s fine.

The school assigns the WSA to seeing about worker’s rights. While I appreciate that the WSA does have a legitimate role to play in the issue, none of them are experts in labor relations. Secondly, the school recognizes that few students actually address the WSA with their concerns, so using it as the only channel they will listen to serves this greater purpose of ignoring student problems.

I think if you can stomach the idea of talking to the WSA, you should. I can tell you the administration will listen to a WSA-backed response probably better than your own. But like I said, even better than the WSA are your parents and prospective parents. Wesleyan insists on treating us like babies and waiting for an adult to vocalize their anger. That is what usually works. I hate it. It pisses me off. But usually that’s what gets their attention more than anything.

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37 thoughts on “Thoughts on Issues, Part II

  1. Anonymous

    TR,As a former student who ate under Aramark’s reign, I assure you that I nor any of my friends had complaints about the quality of the food, despite having a myriad of complaints about the food service. We were more concerned with silly things like the exorbitant cost of the meal plan (particularly galling to those who shouldered the college burden), and poor dining hours. The lack of cooking facilities in dorms left, schedule conflicts, and crowded lines often left us eating one meal a day or feasting on expensive pre-prepared foods. My family and I spent over 5 times as much as I needed to on a meal plan that I neither asked for nor wanted, and it galls me to this day that instead of the money going into a retirement fund, or maybe a to relieve some student loans, it went to a meal plan that didn’t even remotely serve my needs. Needs which amounted to putting food (almost *any* food) in me at a reasonable cost. How picky of me. In short, I would have eaten far worse tasting food than Mocon to have the opportunity to simply eat, or to eat for less.As an outsider looking in, it looks like (and I do emphasize looks like) that things would be *worse* for me under BA which is.. depressing.

  2. Anonymous

    TR,As a former student who ate under Aramark’s reign, I assure you that I nor any of my friends had complaints about the quality of the food, despite having a myriad of complaints about the food service. We were more concerned with silly things like the exorbitant cost of the meal plan (particularly galling to those who shouldered the college burden), and poor dining hours. The lack of cooking facilities in dorms left, schedule conflicts, and crowded lines often left us eating one meal a day or feasting on expensive pre-prepared foods. My family and I spent over 5 times as much as I needed to on a meal plan that I neither asked for nor wanted, and it galls me to this day that instead of the money going into a retirement fund, or maybe a to relieve some student loans, it went to a meal plan that didn’t even remotely serve my needs. Needs which amounted to putting food (almost *any* food) in me at a reasonable cost. How picky of me. In short, I would have eaten far worse tasting food than Mocon to have the opportunity to simply eat, or to eat for less.As an outsider looking in, it looks like (and I do emphasize looks like) that things would be *worse* for me under BA which is.. depressing.

  3. Anonymous

    TR,

    As a former student who ate under Aramark’s reign, I assure you that I nor any of my friends had complaints about the quality of the food, despite having a myriad of complaints about the food service.

    We were more concerned with silly things like the exorbitant cost of the meal plan (particularly galling to those who shouldered the college burden), and poor dining hours. The lack of cooking facilities in dorms left, schedule conflicts, and crowded lines often left us eating one meal a day or feasting on expensive pre-prepared foods.

    My family and I spent over 5 times as much as I needed to on a meal plan that I neither asked for nor wanted, and it galls me to this day that instead of the money going into a retirement fund, or maybe a to relieve some student loans, it went to a meal plan that didn’t even remotely serve my needs. Needs which amounted to putting food (almost *any* food) in me at a reasonable cost. How picky of me.

    In short, I would have eaten far worse tasting food than Mocon to have the opportunity to simply eat, or to eat for less.

    As an outsider looking in, it looks like (and I do emphasize looks like) that things would be *worse* for me under BA which is.. depressing.

  4. Anonymous

    anonymous said: “it is a shame – students shouldn’t be the ones handling this crap”I’m sorry, but relating the WSA to children caught in the middle of a divorce battle is ignorant. The WSA isn’t forced to do anything. They’re actually trying attack these problems. They actually WANT to attack these problems. did you go to the assembly on sunday? They aren’t caught in the crossfire, they’re diving into it.

  5. Anonymous

    anonymous said: “it is a shame – students shouldn’t be the ones handling this crap”I’m sorry, but relating the WSA to children caught in the middle of a divorce battle is ignorant. The WSA isn’t forced to do anything. They’re actually trying attack these problems. They actually WANT to attack these problems. did you go to the assembly on sunday? They aren’t caught in the crossfire, they’re diving into it.

  6. Anonymous

    anonymous said:

    “it is a shame – students shouldn’t be the ones handling this crap”

    I’m sorry, but relating the WSA to children caught in the middle of a divorce battle is ignorant. The WSA isn’t forced to do anything. They’re actually trying attack these problems. They actually WANT to attack these problems. did you go to the assembly on sunday? They aren’t caught in the crossfire, they’re diving into it.

  7. Anonymous

    right now, the problem with bon appetit is not food related. they are doing everything they can to cater to our needs. there is however, a huge disconnect between the way they should be responding to labor issues and the way they are actually approaching them. that’s what students should be getting riled up about.

  8. Anonymous

    right now, the problem with bon appetit is not food related. they are doing everything they can to cater to our needs. there is however, a huge disconnect between the way they should be responding to labor issues and the way they are actually approaching them. that’s what students should be getting riled up about.

  9. Anonymous

    right now, the problem with bon appetit is not food related. they are doing everything they can to cater to our needs. there is however, a huge disconnect between the way they should be responding to labor issues and the way they are actually approaching them. that’s what students should be getting riled up about.

  10. Anonymous

    Since you mentioned the registrar…I wish that they had a more efficient system for requesting transcripts (through eportfolio, for example). If you’re not on campus, you have to write and mail a signed note to Wes – they don’t accept faxed, phoned or emailed requests. Of course, it might be a legal thing, and not remotely their fault… but in any case it is an extraordinarily inefficient way of doing something fairly simple.

  11. Anonymous

    Since you mentioned the registrar…I wish that they had a more efficient system for requesting transcripts (through eportfolio, for example). If you’re not on campus, you have to write and mail a signed note to Wes – they don’t accept faxed, phoned or emailed requests. Of course, it might be a legal thing, and not remotely their fault… but in any case it is an extraordinarily inefficient way of doing something fairly simple.

  12. Anonymous

    Since you mentioned the registrar…

    I wish that they had a more efficient system for requesting transcripts (through eportfolio, for example). If you’re not on campus, you have to write and mail a signed note to Wes – they don’t accept faxed, phoned or emailed requests.

    Of course, it might be a legal thing, and not remotely their fault… but in any case it is an extraordinarily inefficient way of doing something fairly simple.

  13. Anonymous

    “While I appreciate that the WSA does have a legitimate role to play in the issue, none of them are experts in labor relations.” sure, no question there, but the rest of the students are experts? or everyone in USLAC is? or maybe its self-interested workers who are?what, exactly, short of hiring a neutral expert to come in and assess the situation and offer mediation ARE you suggesting?as someone said in the comments to another post, are we really asking BA to pay workers “fairly” (subjective term, I think that my work-study job requires work that is a lot harder and no I don’t have a family to support but I do have tens of thousands of dollars of debt to try and work off and my hourly salary is a fraction of that of many of the workers, but that’s a whole other story) and then we want our pretty specific food demands (tasty, freshly prepared, organic, locally grown, sustainable, etc etc) met AND we want it to come cheaply?it seems to me that something’s gotta give and no amount of protesting, letter-writing, calling, boycotting or anything else will change that. unless someone can figure out a way for us to hae it all, and then that person is amazing and should consider a career in politics… I would vote for them.

  14. Anonymous

    “While I appreciate that the WSA does have a legitimate role to play in the issue, none of them are experts in labor relations.” sure, no question there, but the rest of the students are experts? or everyone in USLAC is? or maybe its self-interested workers who are?what, exactly, short of hiring a neutral expert to come in and assess the situation and offer mediation ARE you suggesting?as someone said in the comments to another post, are we really asking BA to pay workers “fairly” (subjective term, I think that my work-study job requires work that is a lot harder and no I don’t have a family to support but I do have tens of thousands of dollars of debt to try and work off and my hourly salary is a fraction of that of many of the workers, but that’s a whole other story) and then we want our pretty specific food demands (tasty, freshly prepared, organic, locally grown, sustainable, etc etc) met AND we want it to come cheaply?it seems to me that something’s gotta give and no amount of protesting, letter-writing, calling, boycotting or anything else will change that. unless someone can figure out a way for us to hae it all, and then that person is amazing and should consider a career in politics… I would vote for them.

  15. Anonymous

    “While I appreciate that the WSA does have a legitimate role to play in the issue, none of them are experts in labor relations.” sure, no question there, but the rest of the students are experts? or everyone in USLAC is? or maybe its self-interested workers who are?

    what, exactly, short of hiring a neutral expert to come in and assess the situation and offer mediation ARE you suggesting?

    as someone said in the comments to another post, are we really asking BA to pay workers “fairly” (subjective term, I think that my work-study job requires work that is a lot harder and no I don’t have a family to support but I do have tens of thousands of dollars of debt to try and work off and my hourly salary is a fraction of that of many of the workers, but that’s a whole other story) and then we want our pretty specific food demands (tasty, freshly prepared, organic, locally grown, sustainable, etc etc) met AND we want it to come cheaply?

    it seems to me that something’s gotta give and no amount of protesting, letter-writing, calling, boycotting or anything else will change that. unless someone can figure out a way for us to hae it all, and then that person is amazing and should consider a career in politics… I would vote for them.

  16. Anonymous

    johnwesley…ding-ding! What is divorce, Alex?And just like in divorce, both sides twist the truth to look like the victim. And the kids are the ones who suffer.It is a shame – students shouldn’t be the ones handling this crap (or at least perceiving that they are). The real world is coming soon enough.

  17. Anonymous

    johnwesley…ding-ding! What is divorce, Alex?And just like in divorce, both sides twist the truth to look like the victim. And the kids are the ones who suffer.It is a shame – students shouldn’t be the ones handling this crap (or at least perceiving that they are). The real world is coming soon enough.

  18. Anonymous

    johnwesley…

    ding-ding! What is divorce, Alex?

    And just like in divorce, both sides twist the truth to look like the victim. And the kids are the ones who suffer.

    It is a shame – students shouldn’t be the ones handling this crap (or at least perceiving that they are). The real world is coming soon enough.

  19. johnwesley

    so let me get this straight: one set of adults (the union) are saying bad things about another set of adults (the administration/ba) and using the kids as go-betweens. remind you of anything?

  20. johnwesley

    so let me get this straight: one set of adults (the union) are saying bad things about another set of adults (the administration/ba) and using the kids as go-betweens. remind you of anything?

  21. johnwesley

    so let me get this straight: one set of adults (the union) are saying bad things about another set of adults (the administration/ba) and using the kids as go-betweens. remind you of anything?

  22. Anonymous

    engage your parents in this discussion. make them a partner in your protests. explain your rationale. present a unified front.

  23. Anonymous

    engage your parents in this discussion. make them a partner in your protests. explain your rationale. present a unified front.

  24. Anonymous

    Very good post! I completely agree with what you’re saying. It really seems like they (the administration/Dean Rick/BA) never actually want to allow students to even enter the dialogue, as though we are incapable of understanding what’s going on. I mean, come on, we’re smart people, we understand what can and can’t be done realistically. They simply won’t even dignify us with a response.I think it’s also reflected, somewhat, in the fact that there are no longer Suggestion boards in any of the cafeterias or Weshop. They don’t really care about student input as long as parents are willing to pay the Dining fee.

  25. Anonymous

    Very good post! I completely agree with what you’re saying. It really seems like they (the administration/Dean Rick/BA) never actually want to allow students to even enter the dialogue, as though we are incapable of understanding what’s going on. I mean, come on, we’re smart people, we understand what can and can’t be done realistically. They simply won’t even dignify us with a response.

    I think it’s also reflected, somewhat, in the fact that there are no longer Suggestion boards in any of the cafeterias or Weshop. They don’t really care about student input as long as parents are willing to pay the Dining fee.

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