Meal plans bothered students before

I read with amusement Allison Goldstein’s op-ed “Meal plans club students” in the Jan. 27 issue of the Campus Times. It sounds exactly like something I would have written when I was a freshman in 1998. The more the meal plans at UR change, the more they stay the same.

There was a brand new set of meal plans my first year at UR. Students had two options. The first plan required that the user eat at specific times of day, and that each meal could not exceed five dollars. The second plan was much more flexible – thus, it was the more popular option. However, that plan was a rip-off. For every dollar paid on the term bill for the meal plan, only 50 cents went into the student’s meal plan account. Any money left at the end of the semester was forfeited. Students made a stink, and the next year, meal plans were overhauled.

Everyone was hopeful that the new and improved meal plans would be a fairer deal. But we were disappointed. They were just as expensive and restrictive as the old ones. This is the way meal plans have to be.

The problem is simple – the university makes a certain amount of money from dining services. They make that amount by ripping off the students. If they stopped ripping off the students, they would lose a lot of income. And that’s not going to happen. Meal plans will always be one of two things – a lot of money for a little food, or a set of restrictions that results in most customers spending a lot of money for a little food.

For students now and in the future, my advice is this – if you are required to buy a meal plan, get the cheapest one you’re allowed to get, and cook for yourself or eat off campus if it runs out. Oh, and don’t expect things to change.

-Dan Bock

Class of 2002

Rink vandalism disturbs Greeks

Feb. 5 was supposed to be the day of the grand opening of an outdoor ice rink on the Fraternity Quad as part of the WinterFest Weekend. The idea was proposed by students and embraced by administrators as a fun event to highlight during this annual weekend of activities. Since the middle of December, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs has been working closely with Facilities to get the ice rink built and ready for use. Many other UR offices were involved in a variety of ways, such as the Dean of Students Office, Wilson Commons Student Activities and the Office of the Registrar, but none put in more than the people from University Facilities and Services. After the initial meeting I had with them in December to see if such a project was feasible, University Facilities and Services staff volunteered to build the entire rink for free. As many of us saw, they built the rink late at night or early in the morning, on their own time and usually in harsh weather.

The week leading up the WinterFest, the rink construction was completed and was beginning to be filled with water for freezing. By Thursday the last layers of water were poured, and just the overnight freezing was left. Then late Thursday night a few people decided to ruin the hard work of many by throwing various items into the rink. The biggest of which were three large metal garbage containers – the same ones you see on the Academic Quad and the Fraternity Quad. These metal containers were heavy enough to break through the ice, ripping the liner beneath the ice, causing all of the unfrozen water to leak out. This forced the cancellation of the use of the ice rink for the weekend, and the rest of the semester.

While many students seemed to have mixed reactions regarding whether the ice rink was worth it, as seen in the article in last week’s Campus Times, one thing was certain. The hard work of many people involved in this project, most notably those from University Facilities and Services, should be appreciated.

As was already pointed out, they worked two or three very late nights – until 2 or 3 in the morning – in very cold weather, on their own time to make this event happen. I hope whoever did this is mature enough to come forward and take responsibility. However, based on their past actions, that may be quite unlikely. The most I’m hoping for is that the individual(s) responsible for this vandalism realize the hard work of others they single-handedly ruined and think differently the next time an idea like this occurs to them. The actions that you have done don’t reflect on you, but rather the student body as a whole, dragging the reputation of everyone down with you.

-David Clader Graduate Assistant/Program Coordinator Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs

Scott Court Article Overturned

In his article “Bush court appointments should not concern,” Tony Scott claims that liberals and moderates need not worry about the possibility of Bush appointing a conservative to the Supreme Court, should a vacancy open.

Scott first argues that it is a good that a moderate to conservative judge will be appointed since he or she will be more likely to use a strict constructionist approach when interpreting the Constitution. His justification for a strict constructionist approach over a loose constructionist approach comes from previous Supreme Court cases, including Brown v. Board of Education. Scott claims that this correct ruling comes from the fact that the justices “upheld” rather than “interpreted the meaning of” the Fourteenth Amendment. However, this progressive ruling is hardly an example of the strict constructionist approach. It was the first time that the Court looked at the psychological impacts and circumstantial evidence of the case. Essentially, Scott is arguing for more conservative, strict constructionist justices, while citing one of the most liberal rulings in Supreme Court history as his support for this.

He also goes on to say that President George W. Bush will appoint moderate justices, as opposed to extreme right wing justices, since Republican presidents have appointed four moderates to the Court already and the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee is the moderate Senator Arlen Specter. However, Republicans are currently considering a way to make it impossible for Democrats to filibuster their nominees, which would essentially guarantee a position to anyone Bush nominates. Additionally, Bush does not have a record of nominating moderate federal judges. For example, William Pryor objected to the Supreme Court decision to strike down the Texas sodomy law. Many other nominees have a history of criticizing civil rights and women’s reproductive rights. Two of the more moderate justices, John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O’Connor nearing the age of retirement, liberals and moderates should be worrying about the balance of the Court swinging to the extreme right.

-Neeta Daga Junior

Ranking systems are not always accurate

Since Feb. 22, and on a daily basis, the Wall Street Journal has published its 2004 evaluation of MBA programs.

The William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration is rated under “regional schools” at Number 20. The University of Buffalo’s MBA program is rated at Number 15. That is an evaluation that is difficult for a UR alumnus to fathom.

Of course, the questioning of the validity of the various evaluations and rankings of undergraduate schools, medical schools and law schools is well-recognized and frequently well-founded.

This was brought forward at the School of Medicine and Dentistry when its cardiology facility – together with a majority of its other departments – was absent from the 2004 Top 50 of the US News and World Report. For all their possible limitations and failings, the US News and World Report 2005 rankings are anxiously awaited by a significant percentage of the American population – especially those concerned with academia. Let us hope that the rise of the Simon School in the Financial Times 2005 ranking of MBA programs presages an ever-improving future not only for that important component of the UR but all other components that are so important to UR. Let us hope tha

t these improvements will be recognized in the US News and World Report 2005 rankings. We would not want the 2005 Financial Times rankings to stand alone.

-William C. Caccamise, SR. MD, Class of 1946



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