Shoe Number Two

On November 17th The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that over two dozen academic programs at the University of Wisconsin at Superior were being cut because students “tend to get overwhelmed by too many course offerings,” which “cause them to take too many credits, incur too much debt and take too long to graduate.”  (Unfortunately, the preceding sentence is not a joke.)

Well, the agonizing wait for the other shoe to drop ended yesterday, when the University announced a drastic reduction in the number of choices that students will be offered in the school’s cafeteria.  According to a University spokesperson, “the wide range of cuisine options we’ve been providing has produced two major problems.  First, some students are simply immobilized by having so many choices.  As a result, they often take an extraordinarily long time to make their meal selection, and end up being late for class.  Indeed, a subgroup of these students finds it impossible to decide, so they eat nothing, and within a few weeks they show up at our health clinic suffering from severe malnutrition. 

“At the other extreme we have students who sample virtually every item available at any given meal, and by the end of the semester they are morbidly obese.  For example, a typical lunch in our cafeteria features pizza, a burger/frankfurter/fry station, a fish entrée, a chicken entrée, a beef entrée, a cold-cuts sandwich counter, a salad bar, a hummus hut, and of course there’s Cheese World.  Is it any wonder that our campus has the largest percentage of students weighing over 400 pounds in the country?  The single most frequent reason for students dropping out of our school is not poor grades or insufficient finances; it’s sudden death via cholesterol-induced cardiac arrest.  We’re the only campus in the nation with a student-run post-heart-attack support group (“Keep Ticking”) for 20-year-olds.  We must stop the madness!”

After the Thanksgiving break, every meal at the University of Wisconsin at Superior will offer just one selection.  On November 27th, breakfast will consist of creamed chipped beef on toast, followed by a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch (choice of Swiss with or without holes), and dinner will be pork chops served with applesauce.  Dessert?  One scoop of Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream.  Students with nut allergies will be given a dessert voucher that must be used at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls campus within 24 hours.

Student response to the University’s latest action has been swift, with an evening protest march planned for November 28th to demand that the dessert vouchers be honored at the nearby Sweeden Sweets on Culver Avenue.  Every participant will carry a flaming waffle cone torch, held high.