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The Spike or Victoria University College Review June 1925

Starvation for the Starving

page 49

Starvation for the Starving

Dear "Spike, —

May I, as one with a budding interest in dietetics, protest through your valuable pages against the general management of the College tea-room. Heaven knows I have no wish to grumble gratuitously, or this outburst might have come years ago. Heaven knows also, I am only one among many who have suffered; and the bitterest comments of mine are but sugar to the judgments I have heard from some, given in all seriousness and with carefully measured words. Most students are able to stand a good deal of bad treatment in the way of food, and, indeed, have to be able to; but the disgusting and inadequate mess which is nine times out of ten served in the tea-room, and has been served for years past, is altogether over the edge. Soup, that at all times is little more than hot water distantly flavoured with pepper, and sometimes has never even made any pretence at colour (I am credibly told that there is a leak in the roof, which has been lately utilised by our enterprising management) ; potatoes that vary from a solid grey consistency to a water-sodden mess, sodden carrots, an occasional sodden parsnip, meat of various species that is generally beyond description, a stale pale starchy compound, that appears on expert identification to be bread; tea you would be ashamed to set before a famished tramp. And for one of these "hot teas" you are charged a shilling—a commercial transaction for which any self-respecting hash-house keeper would sooner cut his throat than be responsible. For a less price you get a selection of tea, bread and butter and cake that is about as nourishing as a half-brick. And a good many of us (I thank my Creator I am not one) have to afflict our stomachs night after night for months at a stretch with narrowly varying combinations of the above ingredients. I understand the profs get a fairly good afternoon-tea, but as for the rest of us!

I understand the Executive of the Students' Association has at various times in the past made ineffectual protests; the time seems ripe for a re-opening of the question and a complete overhauling of the whole business. Has the Professorial Board or the Council any control over the tea-room? On what system is it run—for the benefit of the students or for private profit? Are those responsible for its management in any way competent to run it? Have they had any experience outside of the College, and would they stand the faintest chance of making a success of a place run on the same lines on the Quay or in Willis Street? The ordinary student, boarding and working during the day, has not a very enviable row to hoe; isn't a certain amount of fairly decent food his due in exchange for his none too plentiful shillings at a tea-room in his own College? It seems to me, "Spike," that these are questions seriously needing an answer, and I trust the business will not be allowed to rest here.

I am, etc.,

"Fed Up."

[Our correspondent fails to grasp the truth that plain living necessarily accompanies, and not unseldom follows, high think- page 50 ing. If he cannot subdue his lamentable craving for luxury, his best course is to join the Tramping Club and learn, under Professorial direction, to what lengths it can be carried].

—Ed. "Spike."