A Dangerous Precedent

Patrick McVee–By now, it’s old news- there are new vending machines in the Drinkward Center and the old Student Store room. The student store itself and the “snack shack” (the after-school food service) are gone. In their place are machines dispensing sugary drinks and a variety of junk food- from healthy to “healthy” to Hot Tamales.

The student-store system was flawed. It relied upon student volunteers to run it, who would open the store roughly whenever they felt like it. Service was infrequent, and there were frequent shortages of popular items. On top of that, someone, probably one of the student-store volunteers, was stealing money from the store’s cash register. The store’s replacement makes it clear that administration no longer trusts students to handle the store with integrity.

The student body’s reaction to the vending machines has been mixed. Many are excited about the selection and reliability of the vending machines. Others are opposed, concerned by the vending machines’ mysterious appearance and plethora of unhealthy options they make available. One former student store worker opposed, saying that the vending machines are “so counter to how we operate here [sic]”.

Neither Student Council, student store members, nor the faculty were informed about the student store’s replacement with vending machines. A policy board member mentioned that “there had been some discussion” of replacing the store, but he was “just as surprised as anyone” when the vending machines popped up. The administration’s lack of communication is concerning, and leads to deeper questions about student government. Does the administration have the authority unilaterally dissolve student-run institutions? If they do this, do they need to inform Student council?

The administration can’t have it both ways. It continues to insist that Student government is a democratic institution that acts as a conduit between students and the administration. Before replacing the student store, administration neither properly consulted nor informed Student Council, completely disregarding Student Council’s authority. If the administration continues to do this, then Student Council may end up with no authority at all.

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