It’s 2017 and the amount that kids have to pay to attend colleges are beyond out of control. One book could cost a student $100-$300. The average cost of tuition at a private college in the United States in 2016/2017 was approximately $33,480; $9,650 for a student at a public college within their resident state, and $24,930 for a child attending an out-of-state public college – we won’t even get into the debate of how this debt will affect students in years to come; let’s save that conversation for another day.
Today the students of Spelman and Morehouse are taking a stand in a fight to help their fellow students. These young men and women are taking part in a hunger strike to speak out against the unfair policies at their college. Students have been trying to help out other students who are suffering from hunger. The idea is to transfer funds, or use their swipes, from their meal plans to other classmates who cannot afford to buy meals. Apparently, Aramark wants to fine students who are sharing their food swipes with other hungry kids.
You all remember, think back in the day when you were in college. If you were at USC like I was, you purchased a meal plan – well, your parents purchased a meal plan. You had a specific amount allocated for breakfast, lunch and dinner; the funds were all held on your student I.D. card. Sometimes you used it, sometimes you didn’t. If you didn’t use all of it, you may have purchased a snack for your home girl or got some extra fries for your homeboy – not a big deal, right? We all did it! Well Aramark and Spelman want to punish kids for sharing their meal swipes. Some of these kids are choosing to allocate their entire meal for another student who may not have access to a meal plan. You would think this is a good thing, but since it takes money out of the pockets of big businesses and colleges, or course it’s a problem.
In an interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Joi Stewart, a sophomore at Spelman told the local paper that approximately “1500 students on campus are at risk of being food insecure.” Joi went on to explain, “I’m okay with foregoing a meal so that my Spelman sister who hasn’t eaten in two days can eat.” Let’s make this clear — NO ONE SHOULD BE PUNISHED FOR SHARING THEIR FOOD WITH HUNGRY PEOPLE!
Aramark is the company that provides many schools around the country with these university food plans and food. ** (Aramark is also the same company that provides food to over 500 correctional facilities in the U.S. – They have been accused of providing inmates with expired food and food that contains maggots).
Since a few dozen students started this hunger strike, they have gained momentum and national attention. Aramark has said that college officials will need to come to them if they are needing these types of changes in meal plans; the company said it is possible to create a program where students can donate funds to other students.
This story has many of us simply pissed off. The average cost to attend Spelman in 2016/2017 is $46,000 regardless of their residency – this is for ONE year! Why would a student who is forced to pay this exorbitant fee for education be at school starving – not eating for days at at time? This doesn’t even make sense. These schools have become low-key corporations focused on their bottom line, and not the well-being of their customers aka students.
No student should be attending school and allowed to go days without being able to eat. No student should be punished for trying to help another student. Education is important, but the system is BROKEN. Also, this is not the time to start a debate about HBCU vs PWI because student athletes at Charleston Southern University have also protested regarding the lack of food on campus. This is not a black university/white university problem, this is a systematic issue where businesses/colleges have no problem collecting fees for books, classes and made-up costs, but don’t care enough to assure that these children get a decent meal three times a day.
As grown as a college kid may behave, they are still kids; they are broke – and these colleges and universities should be held to a higher standard. Many will ask, “where are their parents” not even realizing that many of these students are on their own, many don’t have a place to go for Thanksgiving or Christmas. But let’s remember, many of these kids can’t even attend a class without making sure that their $46,000 fees have been applied – so if a school has no problem collecting $46,000 from a kid, then they should have no problem making sure that kid eats – everyday.