Unilateral Dining Decisions

Mac Watson

A couple years ago, the Lawrence administration made an executive decision forcing all organizations with alternative dining options to give money worth seventy-seven meals at Downer back to the school in return for these meals. As a member of the Greek community, it is important to me that my right to a flexible meal plan is protected. The exact number of meals that Downer takes from me each term does not necessarily bother me, but the administration making a unilateral decision without consulting the communities it affects is disconcerting.
The construction of the new campus center is exciting for all Lawrentians, but knowing the administration’s tendency to make decisions without consulting the groups it’s affecting is scary to me. Lawrence’s dining service situation is about to change drastically, and student communities with special concerns have not been contacted to be a part of the discussion. The point of forcing us to eat at Downer is to make us a part of the general Lawrence community, but determining our eating options for us is treating us as foreign entities to be tricked, not valuable contributors to the community with different dietary needs and desires.
Dining Services should be exactly what the name implies: a service. If members of a fraternity or a co-op know they will not use all of their swipes, this is forcing us to monetarily support an institution more than it benefits us. Dining Services should make sure it is providing a service to the students, not a profit to the university. If our house cook spends less on an average meal than Downer charges us, and we get fewer meals than are supposed to be provided by the board check, how does that math work out? I am not trying to be accusative, but only wishing for a transparent process that treats us like community members.
I cannot speak for everyone on an alternative meal plan, but I am convinced Lawrence has rational reasons for all of the decisions they make in respect to Dining Services and it would just be considerate for them to involve us in the process somehow.