Lack of ID Cards Prevents Cafeteria Entry Too Often

web_Chris YoderI walked with anxiety in my step. Would I be allowed into the cafeteria without my student I.D. card? The scenarios ran through my head, the most absurd involving a fire-engine alarm squawking from the I.D. card scanner with monotoned syllables repeating, “Offender. Offender. Leave the premises immediately.”

I made it into the cafeteria, but only after my name was put into a logbook of shame with other I.D. card violators – people who also forgot to bring their cards to the cafeteria. I was told this could be my only offense, and that to forget my card a second time warranted my being denied from eating in the cafeteria.

Wait. I paid for my meal plan. That hard earned money I saved up moving useless plants from flat to flat at a non- descript greenhouse in the 90 degree Lancaster summer heat was used to pay for the food that I am eating in the cafeteria. How does the cafeteria staff have any right to deny me the right to food which I have, indeed, paid for?

Take this: I work for a government organization specializing in top secret weapons manufacturing solely for the use of the United States Military. It is top-secret information, highly sensitive material which, if in the wrong hands, yields disastrous results, i.e. nuclear world war. I forget my identification badge coming to work one day, but the security guard at the gate recognizes me. He says, “Hey, Chris, how’s it going today? Forgot your badge, eh? No worries, I just need you to fill out this form to verify that it is you I’m looking at right now.” The form has questions on it only I could know the answer to. Case closed, I go to work, keep making weapons that put the state of the world in peril, and everybody is happy.

The cafeteria is not an organization that endangers the world, but there should be some alternative process for those people who do not always carry their student I.D. with them.

For most students, this is not a problem. We live on a campus where student I.D. cards are used to swipe into buildings to lessen the danger of malicious intruders. But I live in Parkwoods, along with many other people, and we use old-fashioned keys to open doors, not swipe cards. Thus, I often leave the room without my student I.D., and have subsequently memorized my student I.D. number so as to take advantage of the excellent coffee in Common Grounds, that does not require my I.D. card to make a purchase.

Yes, I realize that if the cafeteria would undertake an operation to allow I.D. card forgetters into the premises, people would give the I.D. numbers of other people and perhaps steal food. But for goodness sake, we leave our backpacks full of who-knows-whats, iPads, computers, headphones, illegal things, and countless other expensive accessories right outside the cafeteria and hardly ever have problems with theft. For the most part this campus is an honest one, with people who care about the well-being of others, including property left in unattended cases.

We should trust each other enough to realize that the only I.D. number we have memorized is most likely our own, and that is the one we give upon entering the cafeteria.

I may be wrong, and if food starts disappearing after, or if this opinion piece has any effect, then blame me. But it is a major pain in the butt to wait in line for lunch for ten minutes, realize I do not have my I.D., still try to get into the food court only to see someone open the book of shame and find my name on the list of I.D. card forgetters. My food dues to the school have already been paid. Why am I being denied, again?

-Chris Yoder, Staff Writer


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