“Totalitarian rule of the veg”: Chad’s Meat Free Monday row

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St. Chad’s College has recently introduced ‘Meat Free Mondays’ to their catered students. Meat will no longer be an option to catered students on Mondays.

The ‘Meat Free Mondays’ initiative has triggered much discussion within the Durham community.

The debate centres around whether this initiative is forward-thinking and progressive or restrictive to the rights of students to choose what they eat.

“The College acknowledges the climate crisis and is actively working to reduce its environmental impact

Students both within and outside of Chad’s have taken to Durfess to vent their frustration and take part in the conversation.

One user said: “The wholly undemocratic decision… forces individuals into paying even more money to eat elsewhere”.

They then sarcastically suggested the college “enforce a ‘vegetable free Tuesday’ – let’s see how that goes down with the garden gobblers.”

It ended with an ominous threat: “If the totalitarian rule of the vegetables does not end, there will be a rebellion.”

“The wholly undemocratic decision… forces individuals into paying even more money to eat elsewhere”.

Several Durfesses protesting against the initiative have adopted the hashtag #vivalarevolution to express their dismay.

Another Durfess is more supportive of the initiative, stating that “going veg is a good initiative but if the college won’t bother to provide half decent meat free options, it is forcing students to just go and buy other food.

“Chad’s just need to do better or just stop this.”

The Bursar of Chad’s, Alistair Jenkins, sent out an e-mail to the students, stating:

“We acknowledge that there have been complaints in relation to the lack of prior communication about this initiative.

“The College acknowledges the climate crisis and is actively working to reduce its environmental impact across all of our operations, including energy use, waste reduction and food.

“Meat Free Mondays’ was a trial to gauge the response to meat reduction from our student body.

“We acknowledge that for many people, sacrificing meat is not something that they wish to do. We respect that position and it is important to us that we can cater for your dietary preferences.

“We have both students who are in favour of this initiative and those who object. We accept that change can be difficult, and that an approach to this that lessens the impact on those who prefer meat is the way forward.”

This comes following after the continued environmental efforts by the SU and Durham University students. Ideas such as a zero-waste consumers’ co-op proposed by Caitlin Guibout, and ECODU’s Valentine’s Day Climate Strike have preceded the college’s initiative.

The initiative was introduced by the college’s Green committee. One Chad’s student said of the initiative, “it has been popular within college with a few complaints given in. However, the college management views the student opinion here very highly – so has taken these views into account moving forward.”

For the foreseeable future, the college “will be staying meat-free on a Monday lunchtime, with enhanced meat-free options, but will be re-introducing a fish dish alongside the meat-free options on a Monday evening.

“We will also be hosting a series of environment discussions (starting with the Perspectives event on Monday) and welcome input from everyone.”

Image: Reading Tom via Flickr

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