As a student at Western, a member of the dorm community who dines daily at the university dining halls and a dining hall employee, I feel I should bring to light a situation that occurred recently at the dining halls.
May 5 was meant to be the annual “Fiesta Dinner” at the university dining halls. I was excited for the special dinner. The food may not be incredible, but the experience is worth looking forward to. Unfortunately, this was not the case. No dinner was set up, no workers in costumes, no decorations, no punch, although there at least was Mexican food.
Later, I read on the Viking Commons bulletin board why the event had been cancelled. The club MEChA thought the dinner was a stereotype of Mexicans and Mexican culture, and a resolution was made that in the future there will be no more Mexican-themed dinners in dining halls.
No doubt the dinner could be misconstrued as offensive, but in my mind this issue could easily have been remedied to allow a celebration of Mexican culture. MEChA’s response was over the top.
What about the Italian-themed dinner or the Mardi Gras dinner? I grew up in Louisiana, and I absolutely enjoy the dining hall’s effort to allow students the opportunity to participate in something out of the norm.
I understand that MEChA had their reasons, and I would like to applaud University Dining Services for their cooperation with a student group. However, I think a better compromise could have been made, one in which both parties could have profited. In the end, the only message that has been sent, it seems, is that one can only hope to celebrate a culture if one is a part of it.
(edited for length)
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