Note: This was written Sunday, before more information had been released on the Dining/Energy drink fiasco. At last word, President Huddleston has delayed the ban over the outcry of the student body. At least one administrator has common sense because either way we can get our drinks cheaper (although less convenient) downtown at the DUMP or Store 24 (even though it's not Store 24 anymore, that's all I'll ever call it.)
During my four years at UNH, I have noticed that many people on this campus, including faculty, the administration and the general employees do not always have their priorities quite right and they often contradict themselves and one another. I believe that it has become apparent that there is not enough communication between the different levels of school employees. Often times decisions are made without asking the students opinion, or more problematic, too small of a survey sample.
The priorities and contradictions that surround people at this school are often quite mind-boggling. We have a few current examples that prove my very point. Take UNH Dining for example. I know I pick on them a lot, but some of it is deserved. Ever since I've been here they have tried to promote healthy eating. They even went so far as to remove all the salt shakers from the tables at the dining halls and replacing them with expensive salt and pepper mills. Yet, this semester we returned to campus only to see that possibly the healthiest food source on campus, Panache, had been replaced with a Dunkin' Donuts. Personally, I don't mind this, I love their iced coffee, but it seems like a bit of a contradiction. No salt for you! But have all the Boston Creams you want. Then more news came out that effective in January all UNH Dining services will no longer serve energy drinks. Thankfully, President Mark Huddleston intervened and put the rule on hold.
I have two predictions if the rule is put into effect: It will cause the entire university's GPA to drop a full point and the number of students falling asleep in class will skyrocket. Dining, let me get this straight, salt and energy drinks are bad for us, but it is okay to put a Dunkin' Donuts in the middle of our student center located in the heart of campus? Stick to your guns about healthy eating, sustainability and local support or don't bother. Seriously, UNH dining flip-flops more than Mitt Romney.
Here is another example that deals with the faculty and administration. By now we all know about the Professor Larkin situation. He exposed himself to a teenage girl and her mother in a Market Basket parking lot and was given a three year probationary period where he won't be able to teach and only do research. I wonder if a male student were to be caught doing the same thing what the outcome would be? Probation? Expulsion? Would faculty members support a male student who pulled something like this, or would it be different? We have many student organizations and student support groups on this campus that completely focus on eliminating problems like this, but many of our professors portray Larkin as the victim.
UNH Housing doesn't stray from the pack either. For the first two years of my college career I lived in the regular dorms. I was a proud resident of Williamson Hall as a freshman and as a sophomore I was in Devine Hall. Last year and this year I have been lucky to live in the Gables. When I made the transition housing said that living in the Gables you have more freedom, more privacy and personal responsibility. Then what do they do? Move quiet hours up to be the same as the dorms. This does a few things. Here is my hypothetical prediction. This will drive more of the "party" students off campus.
Personally, if I knew about the change ahead of time, I would have avoided Gables and got an apartment this year. That extra hour makes a huge difference on the weekends. I also believe more students could potentially lose housing do to quiet hour violations that lead to alcohol and other more serious violations. It's the student's own fault, but midnight comes fast on a Friday night. Again this could lead to more students moving off campus and into Durham and the surrounding towns who already despise students living in residential neighborhoods. Durham and UNH relations are already tense and they have been for years and this could potentially add fuel to the fire.
UNH has so many different departments and levels of authority that it would be nearly impossible for them to not contradict themselves or one another. I believe there is going to be a greater need of cooperation and communication especially when the budget cuts begin having an even greater impact.
Stay classy, not UMassy.