Typical college students can find something to complain about anywhere they go, and the cafeteria on campus is no different. Maybe they don’t have pancakes every day, or students aren’t allowed more than one grilled cheese sandwich. Or maybe the food just sucks.
Campus food isn’t even good. So I’m tempted to eat fast food all the time.
— NATALIE (@NATTSTACKS) December 20, 2015
it feels good to go in the kitchen and know there’s mad food in it lol was deadass starving on campus
— Yaya ✨ (@King_n33kers) December 20, 2015
I was getting tired of campus food it’s good to be back and eat something with real taste
— ⚡Riyad⚡ (@JustRelaxNigga) December 19, 2015
But students at Oberlin College in Ohio have lodged a complaint that has the internet talking. In fact, one Twitter user dubbed it “the most millennial gripe ever”:
@morninggloria culturally inaccurate college campus food might be the most millennial gripe ever.
— Matt Lindner (@mattlindner) December 20, 2015
The campus food, according to outraged Oberlin students, is “culturally inaccurate” and “appropriative”:
Things People Are Pissed Off About This Week #458: Lack of “authentic” food on campus. https://t.co/bIhTTAR9rN
— Captain Whiskers (@GoddessOfCats) December 19, 2015
THIS JUST IN: CAMPUS FOOD NOT ACTUALLY VERY GOOD AT BEING WHAT IT CLAIMS pic.twitter.com/xmGlnJTApx
— Unfunny Reference (@zenostein) December 19, 2015
Food Fight!! Oberlin’s screaming campus garbage babies gripe about insufficiently authentic ethnic cafeteria menu https://t.co/AVEW8HeopY
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) December 19, 2015
There were a couple of commenters who clearly enjoyed the attempt enough to ignore the “cultural appropriation”:
I miss the constant access to Thai food that I have when on campus
— tuesday (@h0llysmom) December 20, 2015
When you find Indian food on campus >> pic.twitter.com/Jn03iGabN3
— Cheyenne (@chelseaccm) December 8, 2015
And a few who just found the whole thing ridiculous:
“Students say some campus food is culturally inaccurate.” Yes, because public school campuses are the litmus test for culinary standard 😛
— Corey Sharrah (@invayn3) December 19, 2015
Since when is campus food supposed to be good, let alone culturally sensitive? Unintelligible outrage. #OberlinCollege
— Emily Olson (@emolson85) December 19, 2015
Dear students of #Oberlin: Sorry to break this to you, but ALL campus food is poorly executed & culturally inaccurate, including the cereal.
— Joe Capraro (@joecapraro) December 20, 2015
Other student complaints that arose during a protest organized by the Oberlin Black Student Union included:
- not enough vegan/vegetarian options
- no fried chicken on Sunday nights
- too much cream in multiple dishes
Rajan Zed, President of the Universal Society of Hinduism (in Nevada) got involved when students discovered that the campus “tandoori,” a traditional Indian dish, contained beef – a food that Hindus consider to be sacrilegious.
Meetings between concerned students and campus authorities are ongoing.
From Coverage Mail
Student groups complained about the dining hall’s inaccurate Asian meals and lack of diversity on the menus. Campus dietician Michele Gross said all inauthentic dishes would be taken off the menu.
Some Oberlin College students have taken issue with the campus dining services at the college, saying dining services is improperly preparing dishes and labeling them as Asian.
Clover Linh Tran, a student at Oberlin and co-chair of the Vietnamese Student Association, called for a meeting with campus dining after noticing inaccuracies in several Asian dishes that confused students.
For example, a Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich was being served, but used the wrong bread and had coleslaw on it rather than pickled vegetables. Another dish was called “tandoori,” an Indian dish usually served for the Hindu holiday of Diwali. However, the dish had beef in it, which many Hindus do not eat.
The sushi served on campus was also a concern, one that some students even considered to be disrespectful.
Tran said Vietnamese pho, a type of soup, is one of the most important dishes in Vietnamese culture. The on-campus version, however, was made with mostly incorrect ingredients.
Tran met with Michele Gross, a campus dietitian and a representative from Bon Appetit, the food service company used by Oberlin College, and the two set up a broader meeting involving other students to address their concerns.
For at least one group, the meeting didn’t resolve their concerns.
“We didn’t really come to a proper consensus at the meeting. Campus dining and Bon Appetit seemed very defensive,” said Yasmine Ramachandra, treasurer of the South Asian Student Association.
Ramachandra said the biggest issue is a lack of proper ingredients in the campus foods.
“It’s just a matter of whether or not campus dining or Bon Appetit is willing to put these ingredients on their menu,” she said.
Gross thought the meeting went well and said changes are being implemented.
“We said that we would certainly try to name dishes and prepare foods in a much more careful manner,” Gross said.
Tran also thought the meeting went well, but she was unclear of what changes may be forthcoming.
“If there had been more conversations between campus dining services and Bon Appetit with the students, all of these issues would have been prevented,” Tran said.
Gross has suggested opening up communication with a dining committee. The meetings would happen a few times each semester and be open for students.
“We want to listen to concerns and make changes when it represents something broader,” Gross said.
However, campus dining is not without limitations.
“They gave us a chance to catch a glimpse of their difficulties as well, like a lack of ingredients … cooking a great amount of food for hundreds of people,” Tran said.
Gross said changes are possible.
If they aren’t able to make dishes more authentic, Gross said they’ll probably be taken off the menu.