Thursday, September 27, 2012
Thou Shalt Not Dew It To It
So there was a big hoopla recently about BYU students petitioning for caffeinated sodas on campus. You can't buy a caffeinated beverage anywhere on campus currently, much to the dismay of many students, faculty and visitors. When you go to a basketball game and the announcer reads off the sponsors, he won't say Coke, he'll say Caffeine Free Coca-Cola, lest anyone believe that BYU took money from the caffeinated kind of Coke. That would be scandalous.
It's not against the rules for students to drink caffeinated sodas, or even bring them on campus. They just won't sell the drinks to you, which is perfectly within their rights, shortsighted as it may be. But when BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins stated that the school does not sell caffeinated drinks because there has not "been a demand for it," well, that was simply laughable.
BYU student Skyler Thiot created a Facebook page "BYU for Caffeine" which had over 1700 likes before he removed the page stating that the issue was becoming "too contentious." In a recent radio interview, DJ's suggested to Skyler that BYU officials must have told him to remove the page. He wouldn't confirm that, but he wouldn't deny it either, which leads me to believe that "The Heavy" did put some pressure on him to remove it.
So what's the big deal exactly? If BYU doesn't want to sell caffeinated drinks, then fine. Students don't have to attend school there if they don't want to, or they can just drive down to the nearest gas station or grocery store to get their caffeine fix. But it's silly for a spokesperson to claim that there hasn't been a demand for caffeinated drinks, which just can't be the real reason. What is the real reason then? Is it because caffeine drinks are bad for you? Well, they can't very well say that or else they'd have to stop selling chocolate covered cinnamon bears and their famous mint brownies. Besides, I'd be willing to bet that the sugar in sodas is way worse for you than the caffeine. The church doesn't prohibit the consumption of caffeinated sodas, so they can't say that either. They don't have to give a reason if they don't want to, but don't go making up silly excuses that no one will believe.
The Missionary Training Center in Provo has the same dining services as at BYU, which means that missionaries in training can't buy caffeinated sodas. While I was there, one missionary received a package containing a 24 pack of real, fully-loaded Coke. It was amazing how quickly these Cokes became currency, like cigarettes in prison. Suddenly there were missionaries scrambling to buy Coke from him for $1.00 per can, then $2.00 per can. One missionary who was short on cash offered to trade his Afterglow cassettes.
So while we're taking digs at BYU, let's talk about their policy on socks. They don't have one now, but when I was 11 or 12 years old, my friend and I were kicked out of the Games Center because I was wearing flip flops (with no socks). Some worker came up to us while we were playing video games and made us leave stating that I was not wearing appropriate footwear. Perhaps he was afraid that the brazen way in which I was showing off the skin of my feet would cause some BYU co-eds to have evil thoughts. We'll ignore the fact that there was nary a female to be found playing Spy Hunter or Dig-Dug. Today the policy is simply that shoes should be worn in all public campus areas. How progressive of them.
And how about BYU's facial hair policy? I've been a goatee wearer for the last 15 years or so. One time I went to a comedy show on BYU campus and the nice girl who sold us the tickets asked me if I was a student. When I said no, she said, "Oh, good thing, or you'd have to go shave." So, that's fine. My main problem with BYU's facial hair policy is not that they don't allow beards. My problem is that they do allow mustaches. I'm sorry, but plain mustaches are just ghastly. They should have changed that policy when they stopped requiring socks. We'll also ignore the fact that Brigham Young himself had a nice bushy beard in his day.
I don't think we'll see BYU lifting their ban on caffeinated sodas anytime in the near future, nor do I think they should be compelled to. But if you are outraged like I am about how immodest the statue of Chief Massasoit is on BYU campus, then sign the petition by posting a comment here.