Letters to the Editor – September 18, 2012
Tilly food: we don’t get what we pay for
I was recently forced to purchase a meal plan for $1,760, good for up to 112 days. This equates to $15.71 daily, with the same quality of food I can get at the store for $4.00 a day. What does that extra $11.71 per day, per student, pay for? With no competition, UAF is forcing a monopoly on students, most of whom can barely afford to be here. We need food services, but when the quality of food is as bad as it is at Tilly, there is no reason for it to cost that much. With no competition, and being forced by UAF to pay a for-profit company, students suffer. In the most recent Food Safety and Sanitation inspection available, the Tilly was notified, again, of repeated violations for contaminated food, leaking sewer pipes above a food storage area (attempting to fix with duct tape, no I’m not kidding), and the inspector can be quoted as saying “the general cleanliness of the facility isn’t up to par.” Why would current Tilly management need to be told, REPEATEDLY, of violations by an inspector instead of immediately fixing it themselves? Because of the monopoly, they have nothing to worry about. One final question, hypothetically, if the Tilly was a restaurant out in town charging $7.85 per meal, with those serious health code violations, and the same quality of food, how long do you think that restaurant would stay in business? In our case, until Sodexo’s food services contract with UAF expires.
On staying inspired
UAF is probably the only remaining gathering of hopefully open-minded thinking in America. Situated at the farthest out edge of the last frontier, the cloud of opinionated thinking spreading over this country has darkened counsel here the least of all. Liberal, Conservative and religious biases, we hope, are weaker here than anywhere else, so if the dream of freedom and truth is going to survive with a champion to defend her, it will happen here, or nowhere.
That thought ought to be inspiring. Enough to produce the courage needed to endure the scoffers who will mock anyone and everyone standing up for the truth? If history repeats itself, no. But, the challenge remains. It’s a university. “One truth! Find it!” The hypocrites will be out in full force, PhD’s who know nothing about philosophy. Teachers who ignore all the research on the disastrous effects of classroom lectures, testing, and grades on the human mind. Scientists who respond to questions about Bayesian reasoning with blank stares or dismissive bluster. Philosophers who won’t tell you the danger you are in, of being a Diogenean reject, dishonest in the light of his lantern.
It is good, if you are looking for older and wiser wisdom, for someone to disciple you and give you a hopeful vision for making a difference, for making your life count. When you find someone you hope is worth learning from, insist that their first lesson be about how we know what is true, and who is a trustworthy authority. This will save you years of futility and grief.
The students are the ones making the choices here. Be wise, and a light will break through the American cloud, to your glory. Be lazy, and, well, Oh well…. Another hopeful experiment in the history of nations, down the tubes.