Now we can add pork to the list of prohibited substances at certain college campuses. From Inside Higher Ed:
You, too, can be O.K. without pork.
That’s the message of Michael J. Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College in Dallas. Well, part of the message at least – after all, Sorrell didn’t ban pork from his campus dining facilities arbitrarily. No – the decision to stop offering any pork products was based in a much broader institutional philosophy, the president says.
“When you come to college, you come to be educated,” Sorrell said. “We thought we could do more in the area of promoting healthy lifestyle choices and healthy eating habits.”
In a brief statement announcing the decision Tuesday, Sorrell put it like this: “Eating pork can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, sodium retention and heart problems, not to mention weight gain and obesity. Therefore, as a part of our continued effort to improve the lives and health of our students, Paul Quinn College and its food service partner Perkins Management have collaborated to create a pork-free cafeteria.”
There seems to be some misunderstanding that banning something is akin to teaching people about it. If Sorrell wants to educate people about healthy eating habits, he should teach a class on healthy eating habits, or write a book about healthy eating habits, or go out on the streets of the campus and urge people to adopt healthy eating habits. Needless to say, he does not and should not have the authority to force people to adopt healthier eating habits.
Bans are particularly inappropriate in the university setting, where people are expected to come into contact with new things, and new ideas. They should sample many different kinds of people, philosophies, places, and yes, even foods. It’s college, not kindergarten. University administrators have to stop trying to run students lives and instead let them learn something.