On Monday, Provost Alison Richard rejected the Yale College Council’s proposal to install soap dispensers in undergraduate bathrooms. She said she had been intrigued by the proposal until she found out that we had new storage bins (My God! What decadence!) in our bathrooms. Ultimately, her main reason for disapproval was cost: She claimed that the program proposed would cost several hundred thousand dollars.
Now, I ain’t no astrophysicist, but when I do the fuzzy math, figuring 5,000 undergraduates, every four sharing a bathroom and one soap dispenser per bathroom, that’s about $250 per dispenser.
Where the hell would we be getting these soap dispensers from? A defense contractor? Would they have stealth technology? On-board computers? C’mon! Give me a ride to and from Home Depot, and I’ll install a soap dispenser in your bathroom for whatever you have in your wallet.
But fine. We won’t insist that the administration install soap dispensers. After all, the blood, sweat and tears of Third-World slave laborers isn’t on our hands. (I bet President Levin has a big ol’ soap dispenser in his office bathroom.)
Instead, the administration could save the soap money and use some of it to pay for a decent Spring Fling.
Every year I’ve been at Yale, the one act that I’ve been privileged to see has been just one of several performing at Brown the same weekend. Two years ago, Brown hosted a Busta Rhymes concert opened by Rusted Root. But we simply got Rusted Root. (What a concert that was! I can almost remember their hit song!) Last year, when we got Wyclef Jean, Brown bested us by getting him and G Love and Special Sauce.
This year, Brown’s just plain rubbing it in. For their 237th anniversary extravaganza, the Bears will be treated to Ben Harper, just like us. But for those Brown students who manage to avoid passing out from boredom, Violent Femmes, Doughty, They Might Be Giants and Jurassic 5 will also perform.
I guess it’s not fair to complain about our Tercentennial weekend. It was very gracious of the organizers to open Saturday’s alumni talks to undergraduates. The lucky six of us who were able to get tickets will have a great time, I’m sure. And don’t forget that big ol’ cake they baked for us at the beginning of the year.
So instead, I’d like to propose that we divert some of that soap dispenser fund to the dining halls.
I’m sure it’s escaped no one’s notice that the University Dining Hall Services have been in, shall we say, a slump since Aramark took over. Aramark, the world’s second largest satanic corporation (after Disney), has been trying very hard to achieve something approaching a zero operating cost. This results in their charging $10.50 for meals that aren’t even approved by the FDA.
First, they replaced all quality brands of products the dining halls had with the Sysco house brand of crap.
Then, they decided that having two meal options among thirteen different operations was a little excessive. So now every dining hall serves the same thing on a given night. Even this was too much variety, though, so they cut the meal rotation from six to four weeks. To quote a friend, “On top of that, all the dining halls serve leftovers, so sometimes you eat corn for six out of 14 days. We’ve now had snap peas for three days in a row. I didn’t know snap peas lasted that long.”
Just recently, they’ve stopped carrying superfluous breakfast cereals like Corn Flakes, Cheerios and Shredded Wheat. That way, there’s room in the shrinking budget for more practical choices like Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Now I hear there’s talk of dropping theme dinners for cost reasons. What’s next on the cost-slashing itinerary? Continental dinners?
No, I think the administration should divert a couple hundred thou to the dining system to keep the theme dinners going. Because what with nothing to wash our hands with and nothing interesting to listen to at Spring Fling, theme dinners are about all we have left.
Note to pre-frosh in town for Bulldog Days: Don’t let this column affect your ultimate decision about attending Yale. There are plenty of people who are perfectly content putting up with all the crap that goes on around here.
JP Nogues is a junior in Davenport College. He worked in the dining hall until he found out what went into the squash patties.