Scrolling Headlines:

Whose American Dream? -

June 24, 2017

Man who threatened to bomb Coolidge Hall taken into ICE custody -

June 24, 2017

Cale Makar drafted by Colorado Avalanche in first round of 2017 NHL Entry Draft -

June 24, 2017

Conservatives: The Trump experiment is over -

June 17, 2017

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

UMass basketball adds Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent -

May 13, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse gets revenge on Colorado, beat Buffs 13-7 in NCAA Tournament First Round -

May 13, 2017

Meg Colleran dominates as UMass softball tops Saint Joseph’s, advances in A-10 tournament -

May 12, 2017

Rain keeps UMass softball from opening tournament play; Minutewomen earn A-10 honors -

May 11, 2017

Former UMass football wide receiver Tajae Sharpe accused of assault in lawsuit -

May 10, 2017

Justice Gorsuch can save the UMass GEO -

May 10, 2017

Minutemen third, Minutewomen finish fifth in Atlantic 10 Championships for UMass track and field -

May 8, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse wins A-10 title for ninth straight season -

May 8, 2017

Dayton takes two from UMass softball in weekend series -

May 8, 2017

No student input on bulk YCMP sales

UMass Dining’s bulk sales program will not be in effect this year. Those students who haven’t used their YCMP swipes by December 14th will not be able to use them, as before, but now the swipes also can’t be exchanged for excess inventory.

According to the Daily Collegian, Director David Eichstaedt of Retail Dining Services, who selected the policy, cited the logistical difficulty of parking near the construction zone, the unpleasantness of trying to eat at Blue Wall during bulk sales, and a mission to promote health and sustainability which didn’t jibe with buying dozens of 20-oz bottles of soda.

These are reasonable points. That said the announcement of program discontinuance smells a little like a tax (or an increase in swipe prices), and feels like theft. I suspect a large portion of the student body will be hard-pressed not to take it that way.

In an effort to lessen the blow, UMass Dining, Eichstaedt reminds us, has also announced this change previously. I vaguely remember seeing a notice to this effect somewhere as I walked through the Campus Center. The money saved by this policy change could have purchased more than a few signs and three to five social media intern hours.

UMass Dining provides excellent food, and its funding arrangement makes sense for students and the university. Paying large amounts of money up front helps plan for an entire semester’s worth of programming. Meal plans are reasonable for all on-campus students, for whom space is at a premium.

And notably, the flexibility provided by the meal plan funding mechanism is quite convenient. Sometimes when we swipe we’re paying $10 for a three or four hour study session / buffet; sometimes, when there’s no time for that, we’re paying $10 for a bowl of cereal. Some of you may be paying $10 for a dining set and food for a week, which brings me to my next point.

The lesson here may be that it all works out, so you shouldn’t worry about how much you get, because what does it all matter, anyway? It’s just on you to be more responsible.

Or, the lesson could be that other people will take advantage of you without a second thought, so you should take advantage of them without a second thought, consequences be damned. The lesson is that perverse incentives are everywhere and, well, nothing much can be done, so why bother talking about it? What can one person do?

That’s beginning to look like a decent lesson for modern American life. This week a judge in Detroit ruled that, through bankruptcy proceedings, it no longer has to worry about paying the pensions of its municipal workers.

The funny thing we sometimes forget about pensions is that they are delayed paychecks. The economics literature describes how workers give up money during healthy years in exchange for economic security later. When that pay – on which you justifiably rely, because, by right, it’s yours – disappears, something must be done.

Collective action is hard. Detroit has been the textbook case of suburban flight, where the rich exited a decaying institution rather than working to fix it, and the poor, lacking both the resources to leave and adequate civil institutions to do something about it, stayed and suffered.

Any one person or institution will tell you that there’s nothing they can do; and it looks like “If you don’t like it, you can leave” is increasingly the American way. If we can raise our voices, it is only to complain, as two students did in the Collegian article.

That’s not how we should run this society.

One idea for a fix to this arrangement would be to conduct bulk sales throughout the semester, inventory permitting, at the discretion of the manager.

Whether or not that arrangement makes sense is none of my business, because apparently none of these decisions are my business.

The crucial issue is that there is no real, significant say for most people here. The money is pooled but there’s no democratic access, no participation in the budgeting process, and no student voice.

Students are trying. People’s Market, a cooperative run and managed entirely by students, which serves healthy and vegan cuisine, is not allowed to accept YCMP payments, for opaque and mysterious reasons. Efforts to start more student-run businesses, which have historically been very successful, have somehow been stymied by the claim that there is no space. This while we build at a breakneck pace.

This should be a broader conversation with more participants, and it is in the best interest of students for the people who are holding on to our money to start this conversation.

Alex Major is a Governor of the Undergraduate Economics Club and can be reached at admajor@umass.edu.

 

Comments
One Response to “No student input on bulk YCMP sales”
  1. Samuel Sitar says:

    resume the bulk purchase thing next year. its how students evade inflation. private business has always allowed it.

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