Georgia Tech’s student government has released a two-page “inclusivity checklist” for all campus events — and it includes more than 40 guidelines related to dietary restrictions, safe spaces, trigger warnings, and more.
The list, which a February 27 news article on Georgia Tech’s website describes as having been “recently created,” covers everything from avoiding “unintentionally alienating content” to considering “body size and individual preferences in terms of seating options” to a very exhaustive list of food guidelines:
Consider allergies and dietary restrictions of participants.
- Halal, Kosher, Jain (i.e. lacto-vegetarian and no root vegetables), or other religious restrictions
- Non-beef, non-pork options
- Vegetarian/vegan • Gluten-free, soy-free, common allergies
- Low-sugar, low-carb options
Keep areas separate and clean
Be wary of mixed utensils being used
Make sure to have non-alcoholic beverages at the event
Is the food accessible from a seated position?
Other guidelines include making sure there are adequate trigger warnings, “a private spot available for people to go if they are triggered” and a general warning to “take your own privilege into account” when planning.
“Many students do not feel welcome attending certain events which do not accommodate their needs,” the guide explains.
Although it’s obviously great to make sure that people feel comfortable getting involved on their campus, I think that these guidelines are a bit much. According to this list, it would be unacceptable to host a meet-and-greet event that serves only pizza because some people don’t eat carbs — and I really think that it would take more than a lack of carb-less options to make a non-pizza eater “not feel welcome” at an event. I mean, here’s an idea: You could still go, and just not eat the pizza. Mind-blowing, I know!
I was raised Catholic, and that meant I had to refrain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent. I went to plenty of events on Lenten Fridays where the only food option available had meat in it — and I just didn’t eat it. I’d eat before or I’d eat after, but I never at any moment felt unwelcome just because my personal dietary restrictions didn’t match with the food that was being offered. It just wasn’t that serious.
Offering food at events to begin with is a nice gesture, but it shouldn’t be a requirement. Demanding that everyone has his or her perfect dietary dream available at every gathering places too big a burden on the kind of simple, budget-limited events that student groups often host. If anything, these kinds of restrictive guidelines might discourage groups from having more events, and ultimately prevent students from being able to get together and explore shared interests as much as they otherwise would.
In the real world — which is no more than four or so years away from most of the undergraduates attending Georgia Tech — not every event will accommodate your dietary preferences, and there certainly won’t always be a space for you to run to if you feel “triggered” at any time. I know the student government was well-intentioned, but it would probably be better preparation for these students to spend college attending events in the same way they’ll be expected to be able to handle doing after they leave college.
(H/T to The College Fix, which first alerted us to this story.)