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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Injecting Some Reality Into the Meal Plan Debate

    Imagine walking into a local Chinese restaurant. In addition to paying for your food, you start having to pay an additional facility fee to keep the owner’s building running, clean, and up-to-date. This is what you’re doing every time you use a meal plan as a system of payment on campus. In addition to the overpriced food, we’re paying even more money for the maintenance of the dining facilities we use. This system defies all common sensibilities. It is the kind of warped reality that can only develop in an isolated system, like Stony Brook University.

    The solution? Let the hungry, oppressed students out into the streets. The Reform Party’s plan for Campus Cash, which would allow students to use campus points at local restaurants, might shock the system enough to whip the FSA into shape. Making Stony Brook more like the real world might make the system of student fees a bit more realistic. Adding some local competition might force FSA to find a more realistic way to pay for its fixed costs (less like our hypothetical Chinese restaurant from earlier).

    In the real world, people find ways to do the ‘impossible.’ For example, store owners find ways to keep their prices reasonable and pay their fixed costs without demanding subsidies from their patrons. For the FSA, maintaining their facilities without student subsidies might seem ‘impossible’ on paper. But, like so many real businesses outside academia, they’ll have to find a way (especially if students have outside alternatives in the future).

    After all, what’s the big deal? They have a captive audience and guaranteed food traffic. It’s any ‘real’ business’ dream.

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