Letters to the Editor

Ohioans campaign to raise ‘minimal’ wage

Dear Editor:

As anyone who has waited tables or worked a low-wage job can tell you, the minimum wage should be titled the “minimal” wage because it’s set well below the minimum it takes to live, let alone raise a family in Ohio. Because it hasn’t changed in over a decade, the purchasing power of the minimal wage has dropped sharply. In fact, the minimal wage today buys you 24 percent less today than it did 25 years ago. Obviously, low wages and no benefits hurt employees. But it’s also not great for the economy either. Companies whose competitive strength derives from cheap labor are the most vulnerable to global forces. They often rely on taxpayers to cover their employees’ benefits, and they unfairly compete with those companies who are competitive because they make a quality product, not because they pay their workers dirt.

While the federal government has failed to raise the minimal wage, a number of states have passed laws that set the minimal way about the federal level: Florida, California, Rhode Island, Washington, just to name a few. In Ohio there’s a campaign afoot to pass a higher-than-federal minimum through a state-wide referenda. An initiative will be on the ballot in 2006. But passage will not be easy. The Ohio legislature and Gov. Taft – who are well-funded by business interests – have consistently opposed increasing the minimal wage in the state. But the experience in states like Florida suggest that a campaign that improves the lives of Ohioans can succeed.

Mark Cassell

Associate Professor

Department of Political Science


Healthy diets are hard to live up to on campus

A CBS “Sunday Morning” report discussed a school in middle America that decided to go in a radical direction from others at the urging of a local chef. They decided to have the students at an elementary school begin eating freshly prepared, baked/non-fried foods. And the students love it! But what is more, it saved the school board money by buying wholesale, non-processed foods because the processing increases the costs as well as the number of chemicals and preservatives in the food the children eat.

School lunches are never anything superb, but that doesn’t mean they have to be that way (Conformists, read on!). In middle school, it was sheet pizza, cheeseburgers or the solitary salad prepared that day. If you stop by an on-campus restaurant and ask for a whole vegetable to buy, you’ll probably find what I found: a cucumber and some peppers. Everything else comes in a bag.

Personally, I stopped using Dining Services this summer, and even though I still have beer and pizza every now and then, I have lost 50 pounds in that time! Imagine my shock at the doctor’s office when my level of activity hadn’t increased but my healthier eating had.

The people at Dining Services will give you a dozen excuses and pay you lip service until you’re blue in the face, but in the end, they change nothing. Lines at Rosie’s are still longer than they should be and the food around campus in the stores and cafeterias is still either disgusting or disgustingly bad for you. This is not coming from some picky eater on a crusade. But the truth is for people eating on campus, the food is barely tolerable and incredibly bad for you.

Having to go all the way to Prentice shouldn’t be a requirement just to get something healthy other than a salad every day.

Karl Hopkins-Lutz

Senior German major