The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Letter to the Editor: Required Meal Plans

Contributed by Tim Yu `26

A few weeks ago, Grinnell College’s website proudly displayed “Grinnellians embrace multiplicity and question convention” — it has since been changed to a different slogan. Yet as I remind myself of the new meal plans, I think, how contrary to this could the administration be? 

The new meal plans show that the administration disembraces multiplicity and accepts convention, defining norms and determining who deserves an exception. Forcing each person to eat the same expensive food, regardless of their financial situation and dietary preferences, is a blatant rejection of multiplicity that the College supposedly values. 

To the College, “multiplicity” means convincing the administration that we deserve an exception, excluding those who the College thinks are unworthy of receiving one. Yet in reality, embracing this would mean trusting each individual student to make the best decisions for themselves. 

While the College recognizes that those with high financial aid are assisted, they are leaving those with little to no need-based aid in the dark, even as many of these students struggle to afford college. Likewise, while the College makes an attempt to recognize those with documented disabilities, those who do not have documented disabilities but know they have dietary restrictions are sidelined. Many of us do not want to go through the incredibly time- and money-consuming process just to prove something we can honestly attest from our experiences. Even those who have the privilege of documentation are often ignored. 

The College administration has erected walls which control how we should live our lives. Opening restrictive gates through these walls and determining who gets through reinforces the idea of a conventional student rather than questions it. If the College wants to question convention, they should dismantle these walls instead. 

The controversy over the meal plan is a symptom of a broader problem surrounding the College administration that can be also found in the stinginess of getting accommodations, living off campus, supporting us during the increasingly annual heat waves and more. Rather than letting them determine our college life while deteriorating our sense of self-governance, we should make choices for ourselves. I urge Grinnell College to act consistently with its stated values and embrace multiplicity over financial profit.

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