BY GRAY WHITSETT – OPINIONS SECTION EDITOR
In a stunning decision by the Centre College Student Life Office (SLO), the College administration announced plans to end the beloved ‘No-Bake Wednesday’ tradition so many students adore.
The decision was communicated via a campus wide email to the student body last Thursday, stating that while the administration acknowledges the “cultic affinity for the delectable desserts” it unfortunately cannot continue the longstanding practice of “shoveling out pounds of the visually repulsive comestibles.”
“I love them, Elizabeth [Frank] loves them, Dean Hays love them,” Director of Campus Activities Kendrick “Lamar” Durham said, “but it’s not something we can sustain anymore.”
Citing rampant damage caused by stampedes of students racing to snatch the treats, in addition to health concerns over the sheer volume of no-bake being consumed per capita on Centre’s campus, the SLO decided to terminate the culinary program.
Students, however, did not take the news well.
“I’m just not sure the reasons given reflect the reality of the situation,” senior Alyssa Watson said. “I mean we’ve all gone a little crazy over the no-bakes before, but I’m not sure the behavior of students is as egregious as the SLO is making it out to be.”
Watson, an involved and invested student on campus, has long enjoyed the no-bake tradition of Centre, crediting it with making her college experience more fulfilling. In response to the disingenuous and ill-conceived email announcement by Durham, Watson and other students took a stand, founding the No-Bake Action Group (NAG). Utilizing social media and public space, NAG has drafted a petition, garnering a significant amount of student support in light of the cancellation.
And while NAG is primarily concerned with the reversal of the decision, there are several concurrent issues they are tackling, including the lack of communication and discussion on the SLO’s part and why no alternatives were proposed before complete elimination.
“We value what the SLO does for this campus,” Watson continued, “but decisions of this nature affect a lot of people. Shooting us an email was shallow at best. It’s like breaking up over text message.”
In generating awareness, NAG has been successful, but so far their attempts at negotiations have failed, with communications out of the SLO going dark.
“Sometimes you have to make difficult choices,” Durham said. “No-Bake Wednesday is one of those choices – there were just no good options.”
Indeed, the damages and vandalism that Durham referenced, but couldn’t actually produce, were startling. No-Bake Wednesdays cost the college a lot of money, in staffing, materials, and liability.
“Last week,” Durham said, “we had a girl go into a diabetic coma from attempting to eat a five-gallon bucket full of the batter. It was tragic.” It seems then that while the ritual’s annulment is unfortunate, it was nonetheless warranted.
“We understand that there are risks involved, both for the College and the students,” Watson said, “but it doesn’t necessarily follow that the no-bakes should be cancelled.”
Expressing her frustration, Watson pointed to a fundamental lack of effort on the SLO’s part. “When you recognize that something is worth preserving, but it’s having some negative consequences, you look for new ways to do it. And that’s what’s troubling – this decision indicates to me that the SLO doesn’t recognize No-Bake Wednesday as something worth having, otherwise we would be hearing about possible changes, not unilateral terminations. And where would those alternatives come from? Discussions with the student body. Communication.”
But an interview with Student Life Coordinator Elizabeth Frank, who works closely with Durham, revealed a different narrative.
“We need to be clear that No-Bake Wednesdays are a privilege, not a right,” Frank said. “Across the nation, most colleges don’t have No-Bake Wednesdays. Centre students need to realize this. We need to be grateful for what we already have.”
It’s no mystery students enrolled at the liberal arts college enjoy many luxuries that a larger college simply cannot support. A short stroll delivers you across campus, an accommodating faculty is prepared to answer questions outside of class, and a buffet style cafeteria meets most nutritional standards.
“We are an extremely fortunate college community,” Watson affirmed. “No one is contesting that.”
Noting the College’s rigorous academic expectations, student investment in the campus, and the less-than-stellar entertainment options in the surrounding community, Watson contextualized the reality of No-Bake Wednesdays.
“I don’t think anyone believes we have some sort of human rights claim to no-bakes. But that’s never been the argument. It’s become part of our culture, something we appreciate and expect. And I don’t think that’s unreasonable – like the faculty and staff, we work extremely hard to make this experience meaningful. True, suddenly ripping that away didn’t break any rules, but it violates our trust. And in my view, our Student Life Office should be our advocates, not our adversaries.”
As mentioned, communication with the SLO has been limited and many students fear the administration will not budge in its policy. Rumors circulate about NAG’s willingness to go over the SLO’s head and directly to President Roush. For now, this remains speculation.
The SLO’s actions do raise a number of questions for student-staff dynamics. Will such actions have a prolonged effect on student perceptions of the administration? Is it possible that this will negatively influence giving after graduation? When particular members of the SLO have a certain policy change in mind, how far are they willing to take it?
“Ultimately, it’s clear to me that the desserts are appropriately named,” Watson said. “The SLO’s determination, and Durham’s execution thereafter, weren’t half-baked – they were no-baked.”
Editor’s Note: The previous article is from the CentOnion series, a satirical publication focused on parodying various subjects unique to Centre College’s campus.
As such, all content within this article is purely fictional and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Cento or Centre College.
In addition all quotations used in this article are purely fictional and do not necessarily reflect the views of the individuals quoted.