Students at the Culinary Institute of America staged a walkout protest yesterday, with about a fifth of the undergraduate program's attendees demonstrating. According to the New York Times, they were protesting "a weakening enforcement of educational standards," including perceived lowered standards for admittance and graduation as well as rapid expansion. Students at the protest wore nametags declaring the amount of debt they had accrued going to the CIA; one student who spoke to the Times owes $87,500.
But are academic standards weakening? According to the school's provost, admissions standards, at least, are actually going up. The president of the student government told the Times he finds the protest "childish."
This is not the first time the spirit of revolution has seized the students at the CIA. Back in 2008, students demonstrated against CIA president Tim Ryan, complaining that the school's relationship with corporate food led to students learning institutionalized food preparations and lowered academic standards overall.
Students involved in the protest yesterday told the Times they were trying to preserve the reputation of the school, in order to protect their investment in their education. But is culinary school even worth the massive debt, regardless of academic standards? Eh, people have mixed feelings about that.
Update: This post originally read that a fifth of the school's students joined the protest, the number was actually a fifth of the undergraduate class only.