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To the Editor:
As an undergraduate member of the Student Labor Action Movement, I am writing in response to your “Let Them Eat Toast” editorial from November 14th, which had some criticisms of SLAM and unionized HUDS workers’ campaign for hot breakfast.
The sticking point of hot breakfast in “every” versus only “some” upperclassmen houses is no reason for Crimson editors or students to reserve support for our campaign. UNITE HERE Local 26, a union representing HUDS workers, and SLAM are both open to a return of hot breakfast that does not reach every house — we just want to increase its availability. Those who see a limited expansion as more sensible are welcome within and should support our coalition as we await a response from the University to our petition.
The Board cites low usage of hot breakfast offerings as another reason against expansion — indeed, that was an original reason for the 2009 cut, with only 30 percent of students cited as taking advantage of any kind of breakfast at the time. Yet 30 percent of 7,000 is still 2,100 students every day.
Hot breakfast is a service students are fundamentally entitled to, for health and for basic quality of life. Hot breakfast is expected from any institution claiming to provide people with room and board; whether because they are an athlete, eat a late lunch, or merely want to eat well before a long day, students who need a filling start to their day should not have to settle for “cold” breakfast options due to sparse access.
Most critically, the Board’s determination that Quincy dining hall workers are not actually “overwhelmed” in the morning was condescending, dismissive, and not up for the Board to determine. If Editorial Board members who have visited the Quincy D-hall during breakfast find it less than packed, they should inquire further into reasons for workers’ claims, rather than make assumptions and call workers’ grievances — which catalyzed our campaign after being raised by the workers themselves to SLAM — “hyperbolic.” SLAM is happy to refer skeptical parties to HUDS workers with firsthand experience of Quincy in the morning to confirm that they are, in fact, overworked.
Given the widespread desire from students for more hot breakfast and from already-employed HUDS workers for better hours, my colleagues and I within SLAM see the expansion of hot breakfast as a solution to overworked Quincy staff. Just hiring more workers would not solve the issue that the Quincy kitchen does not have the room to cook for the current number of students, according to staff there. Editors concerned about the million-dollar annual cost of hot breakfast and whether the money would be better spent elsewhere can check out this recent Crimson article.
While the Editorial Board’s commentary on our work is appreciated, their arguments are ill-founded and harmful to a campaign based on legitimate grievances from both workers and students. I hope you will reconsider your opinion.
Jack Trapanick ’26, a Crimson News comper and a member of the Student Labor Action Movement, lives in Wigglesworth Hall.
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