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Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Second meal plan protest ends in march, poster taped on UW Housing office

In their protest at Dejope Hall, UW students said meal plan is ‘discriminatory,’ has to go
Abby Doeden

In the second protest against the new meal plan, University of Wisconsin students gathered in the dining area of Four Lakes Market Tuesday evening.

The group demands acknowledgment and action from the UW housing office, specifically University Housing director Jeff Novak and Dining and Culinary Services Director Peter Testory, UW Freshman Chelsea Yigan said.

“This protest is calling for the elimination of the mandatory meal plan that will be imposed fall of 2018,” Yigan said. “I would like to see the complete elimination of it, or a cheaper option for students that are low-income or facing dietary restrictions. And if that doesn’t happen, I want a call for the resignation of Jeff Novak and Peter Testory because this administration is being discriminatory.”


The policy, which would require new students to deposit $1,400 onto their WisCard throughout the year, would go into effect for new students living in dorms next year.

The plan is one Yigan believes creates a bigger disadvantage for underprivileged students.

“We feel like the changes that were made to the meal plan are not okay,” Yigan said. “The plan seems to me like ‘hey we’re helping out more privileged students than we are students of color or minority students,’ and I don’t like that.”

‘I can’t eat’: Students gather in Gordon to protest mandatory dining plan

This time, police presence met the protest and acknowledged what campus protests could and could not do.

But the protest remained peaceful as students marched through the serving area chanting, “I can’t eat,” “Hey hey, ho ho, this meal plan has got to go,” and “One, two, three, four, what’s a meal plan even for.”

After several students spoke on their reasons against the meal plan, the protestors signed a poster which stated, “End this discriminatory meal plan.” After the protest, several students marched to the University Housing office where they taped the poster.

In attendance was University Housing spokesperson Brendon Dybdhal, who said while students have their right to their opinion, the policy is not likely to change.

“We haven’t made any other changes to the meal plan, which was made in December, and we will continue to move ahead with that,” Dybdahl said. “Incoming students are starting to sign up for meal plans, and it has been received well.”

University dining to require students in residence halls to purchase minimum $1400 meal plan

After the first protest at Gordon, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Laurent Heller released a statement on the policy, noting that UW currently has the lowest housing and dining fees among the Big Ten.

Heller stated these fees will assist students and families with meal costs throughout the year, as well as sustain the a la carte system in place.

Finally, Heller acknowledged the lack of communication in the role out of the program and stated that University Housing will be pairing up with ASM to make the plan more accommodating. Already, there have been several changes to the current plan. The funds will transfer over to the next year, and students may opt out for religious, dietary or other special circumstances.

New university dining policy faces criticism from students, alumni

UW was pleased with the peaceful demonstration following the Four Lakes protest, UW spokesperson Meredith McGlone said in an email to The Badger Herald.

University Housing also said the $350 quarterly payment for dining provides the predictability that parents and students have asked for while helping keep food prices affordable.

But some students are still against the policy, Yigan said.

“If this school truly wants to prove they are about diversity and welcoming students, the need to get rid of this meal plan or get rid of the people who are responsible for things like this meal plan,” Yigan said.

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