It seems a bit odd that a college the size of Occidental would have periods of time during the day when it is completely devoid of dining options.
As college students we are pushed to fit as many activities into our day as possible. We study, exercise, and participate in clubs and activities, and often these commitments extend our evening into the early morning hours of the following day. Numerous times I have endured these endless evenings, and have found myself in need of food, but unable to find any on campus. I find it shocking that there is not one twenty-four hour dining option on our campus. As a matter of safety and necessity, I believe the school should provide one, either by extending the hours of an already existing option or by creating an altogether new alternative.
I realize that it may be a challenge to find the funds or employees to make and support such a change, however if found, the change would be beneficial to the entire student population. Many schools provide twenty-four hour food and beverage options in their libraries, in part because they are open and staffed around the clock. Our Academic Commons is no different; it is open all night and could potentially support a food stand or cart that could provide studying students with fresh sandwiches, fruit, coffee, tea or other beverages when other dining options have closed. Snacks from vending machines are not enough to sustain someone writing a senior thesis or cramming for an exam.
What I find even more remarkable is that there are no weekend dining options open before ten a.m. Surprisingly enough, there are weekend mornings when I wake up early to do work or attend an event. On such mornings I either have to wait until the Market Place opens at ten, or if the event takes me away from campus on a Saturday, hope that I am able to return and eat before the Market Place closes at 2 p.m. Being the main source of food on this campus, the Market Place should be open a bit longer than this four hour window. Opening earlier and staying open later on weekends would help students start their days earlier and be more productive, which I personally believe is something positive.
Both of lack of the lack of twenty-four hour dining options, and early morning weekend options are issues that the school should be looking to fix. While it is not a huge issue, and while I understand that there are costs associated with extending facilities hours and/or creating an after-hours food option, with the tuition that many of us pay to attend this college, the school owes it to its students to provide more options when it comes to dining facilities.
Recently there has been an increase in discussion on campus surrounding the reality of Oxy’s self-touted diversity. This has led me to scrutinize the alignment of the diversity our college says it’s committed to with what the numbers show. In my mind it seems necessary to actively increase the numbers of faculty and students of color, provide and maintain spaces of support for them as arenas of respite from the daily, lived experience of racism in our society, and build a new team with a proactive agenda specifically designed to achieve these goals.
According to the U.S. Census, the city of Los Angeles’ racial composition in 2012 was
48.2% Hispanic or Latino/a,
9.3% Black/African American,
1.5% American Indian & Alaska Native, and
Oxy’s 2012 student demographics pan out as
13.3% Hispanic or Latino/a,
6.5% Black/African American,
2% American Indian & Alaska Native, and
11% Asian American.
As for faculty, 70% of Oxy’s full-time employees in 2012 were white, while people of color composed the remaining 30%.
For a school that boasts being “a vital part” of the Los Angeles community, why is the college’s population inversely representative of a city heralded as one of the first to become minority-majority?
The recent activity on campus from C.O.D.E., an organization committed to lessening the gap between our school’s rhetoric surrounding diversity and the concrete reality of policy implementation, is encouraging. The Coalition at Oxy for Diversity Equity has demanded that the Occidental administration hires a Senior Vice President to head a new Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: the first of 29 Actions to Achieve Equity and Excellence.
We shouldn’t just be “one of of most diverse colleges in the U.S.” (according to Oxy’s homepage); in 1998 we qualified for the #1 spot on a US News and World Report list judged by our diversity, but this year we have fallen to #12. We should be leading the charge!
Let’s get more discussion and action pertaining to this issue going, and fulfill our potential as an institution committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
After witnessing some of the great events on campus during divestment week, I felt a renewed sense of optimism and outrage. While some students claim that Occidental must continue investing in big oil companies in order to provide scholarships to students and competitive salaries to professors, they are wrong as their argument hinges on two falsehoods. Firstly, their argument assumes that big oil companies are the only investments which will produce steady and reliable profits. While big oil companies are extremely profitable, I am confident that we can find other investments which produce similar returns and are more ethical. Secondly, this argument fails to acknowledge how hypocritical it is to depend on big oil companies for our education. Big oil companies have show time and time again that they do not share our “deeply rooted commitment to the public good.” Why should our education come at the expense of the environment, the land of indigenous communities, and the stability of developing countries?
P.S in 1981 Barrack Obama protested Occidental College to divest from South African companies. Occidental College ignored these pleas and perhaps as a result President Obama transferred the next year. Lets not repeat history.
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