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C.O.W. monopolizes students’ living options

The College of Wooster, while outstanding in many respects, is far from a perfect school. In my time enrolled as a student at the College, I have been able to isolate three major sectors of campus involvement in student life in which the campus fails to meet the expectations of students: food, housing and security.

Qualms with the food on campus generally arrive from what appears to be the College’s attempts to monopolize the students’ food budgets. Because every student is required to choose one of three meal plans, not varying in price but in allotment to one of two quasi-monetary resources (“flex dollars” and “meal swipes”) — which cannot be exchanged, reappropriated or reclaimed — it would seem that the meal plan is in fact an easy way for the College to line their pockets by brushing over the details of transaction. The use of these resources is also restricted to locations on, and owned by, the campus. Are you on meal plan A, B or C?

Housing has also increasingly become an issue amongst members of the student body. In order for the average student to choose to live in an off-campus house, that student must pay for the cost of their personal living space, plus the cost of room-and-board on campus, and an additional fee for living off-campus. That student is also at risk of losing financial aid for attending the school. Clearly, the College does not want students to choose to live off-campus. This allows the College to inflate the cost of on-campus college housing to ensure maximum profitability per room for the campus, while also ensuring nearly every student lives on-campus, so that they avoid heavy negative repercussions from the school.

Now that students are economically gated into campus housing, the College takes the measure of control up a notch: [the College] may enter any student residence space, at any time, for any reason. Because every dorm and house is property of the College and every student is gated into living in college property, every student is thus subject to a staff search at any time. This is strictly a matter of privacy, and the invasion of personal space. The College seemingly has no respect for an individual’s right to a personal space.

The College has made impressive efforts to monopolize the food and housing budgets of attending students, forcing them into making relatively arbitrary decisions (meal plan A, B, or C and dorm or house?) within the scope of the campus’ limits. But, as it currently stands, I live in constant fear that Dean Buxton will one day kick down the door to my (I mean, her) house, as I desperately attempt to cook a 2 a.m. dinner with over-priced C-Store groceries, clothed solely by my underwear. And that day shall be an immensely embarrassing day, because I am a very poor cook, and there are surprisingly limited ways to prepare ramen noodles.

Greg Sexauer, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at

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