Opinion

Upcoming meal plan protest justified, necessary

Image By: Tommy Yonash

At the end of the 2017 fall semester, reports came out that UW had ideas of implementing a new “meal plan” idea that would come into effect the fall semester of 2018. The University would require new incoming freshmen to deposit a minimum of $1,400 on their WisCard account.

The proposal was met with backlash and criticism from many students. The student outrage about the new proposed dining plan is more than just anger towards a mandatory meal plan that many simply cannot afford. It is a reflection of longstanding student resentment towards UW’s policies that ignore their voices. Enough is enough.

If the administration will not hear our concerns then students will take matters into their own hands. Conversation after conversation about issues with the institution are constantly being brought up but what action is being done for actual change? I have spoken to students who say that, “it’s going to happen, we are going to do what we have to do.”

Student organizers are calling for all students who are angered about oppressive UW’s policies to participate in a protest at Gordon’s Commons this week. On Tuesday, February 13th, during dinner time, students plan to link together in a sign of unity and peace to protest the new meal plan, housing fees, and making sure the University is being held accountable for exploiting students and families.

Fourth year DC Posse Scholar, Tyriek Mack who has organized the protest, is no stranger to challenging the University and their rules. His previous protest experience and experience while abroad last semester has him feeling empowered and prepared to tackle UW’s newest problematic proposal.

“While I was in Africa, I saw how important it is to resist and gather together. It’s not necessarily how many people show up but more about the quality and the power of our message,”  Mack said. 

Second year student Matthew McAllister explained that he and his peers “have conversations about what is wrong with the University and how there needs to be a change.” However, despite the dialogue, he acknowledged that “we too often neglect to... put any of our conversations into action and really do something. This protest needs to happen.”

I spoke to another student, who preferred not to be identified, about what the new requirement meant to her even though she would not be a freshman forced into the new rule.

“In my years here at Madison I have never deposited a lump sum of $1,400 on my WisCard. That amount of money is absolutely ridiculous,” she said. 

Students want the university to be held accountable and to stop exploiting students as well as their families. The university is supposed to be here for the students. It’s our campus and we deserve to attend a place that has policies that benefit and support us. It is in our Constitutional right to protest and that’s exactly what is going to happen. Given the university’s apparent apathy towards student concerns, protest seems like the only way for the university to acknowledge our frustration.

All we can hope for is that the university will take our demands seriously and move forward with making real change. If you have ever asked yourself what you can, do this is a perfect opportunity. Come join us on Tuesday in a peaceful protest.

Chelsea is a freshman intending on majoring in journalism. Are you planning on going to the protest? What are your thoughts on the proposed meal plan? Send any comments to opinion@dailycardinal.com.

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