Students Stage Walkout at the Culinary Institute of America

A quieter time on campus.
A quieter time on campus. Photo: Jane Deel/Courtesy of Culinary Institute

The Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park’s notorious for being rigorous and challenging, and students are now claiming that it’s the administrators who are slacking off. Ninety students — one fifth of those enrolled in the bachelor program — are accusing the school of weakening the enforcement of its educational standards. The protesters walked out of class today and gathered in front of Roth Hall to give speeches, sign letters addressed to the school’s administrators, and wear name tags showing the amount owed in student loans. The unifying sentiment is that the school’s expanding too quickly: Dress codes aren’t enforced, and applicants are now only required to have worked six months in a professional kitchen (as opposed to a year) — and as of 2011, front-of-the-house experience counts. “Our core mission is to protect the reputation of the institution and the value of the diploma,” says 20-year-old protest leader Zac Hoffman, who owes $87,500 in loans. [NYT]