If you thought Fyre Festival food was bad...
The lunch lady's mystery meat hit a new low at Oakwood University, the only Seventh-day Adventist HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), when students organized a protest through Twitter under the hashtag #GTO (Get Thompson Out). Food complaints have been voiced for the past several years, when Sodexo was the food service provider. Last year, the university replaced Sodexo with Thompson Hospitality—the focus of the protest. On January 23, the Oakwood United Student Movement held a town hall meeting with students to address concerns about the food. The following day a meeting was held for the concerns to be presented to administration.
On February 7, the student-led protest took place with students using Facebook live to stream the events in real time. Instead of attending chapel, students rallied at the W. J. Blake Memorial Center, which holds the administrative offices of the university as well as the student dining hall. Oakwood President Dr. Leslie Pollard, along with Finance VP Sabrina Cotton and Student Services VP David Knight, responded to student concerns in a town hall meeting.
We’ve all had dry FriChik; how bad is it really?
Students had a range of complaints, including concerns about sanitation, customer service, and food quality. Some parents and students expressed concern about the poor food quality, especially when they are already paying high tuition. Off campus students objected to the extra “tax” they are charged.
And the verdict is...
In response to the February 7 protest, administration excused that morning’s 11:30 classes to hold a town hall meeting with the students in Carter Hall. President Pollard presided over the meeting, along with VPs Cotton and Knight - the individuals responsible for making and overseeing the food service contracts. This meeting was also livestreamed on Facebook.
What are people saying?
Off-campus students were happy to hear they would no longer be charged extra for eating in the cafeteria. There was a lot of support for Dr. Pollard on social media, but one pointed (and mic-drop-worthy) question from a student at the end of the town hall, along with his response to it, stole the show. Later that evening, Dr. Pollard joined that student for dinner and more conversation in the cafeteria. Several Oakwood alumni posted encouragement to the student protesters through social media. At the moment, students seem satisfied with the results of the protest and the administration’s response.
Of Mice and (Wo)Men
This week The National Heart, Blood & Lung Institute awarded Dr. Hongyu Qiu, MD, PhD, a total of $3.7 million. Dr. Qiu is a professor of Basic Sciences at Loma Linda University School of Medicine. Qiu received two grants which will be used to fund the study of a recently discovered molecule that protects against heart diseases. Qiu and her team have started working with mice in their research, inserting a gene that stimulates the production of a molecule called Valosin-Containing Protein (VCP). VCP naturally diminishes with age. It has been discovered that mice with elevated VCP levels protected the cells of the heart against stress-induced death. Though there has been a decline in the rate of coronary artery heart disease, it is still the leading cause of death in the United States.
Polish-ing our Resume
The President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, recently met with religious representatives from the country’s churches; including four leaders from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This annual meeting marks the fourth president with whom the Adventist church has been able to meet and discuss its values. Poland only contains 5,796 Adventists, so to be given a platform to meet with such larger bodies of faith is invaluable - giving the church a platform it would not normally have in a country of 38.5 million people.
Something to Chew on
Roy Chew, Ph.D., president of Kettering Health Network (KHN) since 2015, is retiring effective February 15. Chew has worked with KHN since 1976 in a plethora of roles - including clinical coordinator, VP for Human Resources, president of multiple medical centers, and eventually president of the whole Network.
Ted Wilson Makes Waves in Jamaica
During a recent visit to Jamaica, General Conference President Ted Wilson, briefly discussed the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s stance on abortion. While he acknowledged that abortion is a personal matter, he made it clear that SDAs “are strong supporters of the sanctity of life.” Ted Wilson also clarified that it is not customary for the SDA Church to interfere with a country’s politics, but outlined that the church is willing to advocate what it believes to be biblical without becoming overly political.