Dining hall alterations invite comparison to international situation

To the Editor:

The dining hall managers of Ezra Stiles College and Morse College are hard at work at a transformation amazing in its own right and interesting also as political allegory. In response to an alleged problem about congestion in the food service area, they are converting the entire dining hall to a food service area. A few years ago, a sizeable piece of the dining rooms was appropriated for food preparation. When students complained about the result — everyone eating in the kitchen, in effect, and more crowded army mess-hall like arrangement of tables — that expensive refurnishing was discarded; in its place we now have heavy equipment such as giant refrigerators and cereal dispensers.

We are all of us privileged to be sheltered by Ivy walls from the real consequences of this kind of planning. After all, it is only the quality of college life, not tens of thousands of actual lives, that is at stake with such invasion of the dining hall space. But to compare small things to great, there is something about the incursion into the dining halls that could remind one of our White House managers’ incursion into Iraq; both were totally unwarranted, and like Hum-Vees, the new refrigerators may prove too costly to withdraw after admitting the total botch we have made of things.

Leslie Brisman

March 28, 2006

The writer is a professor of English.

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