Professor-only canteen triggered controversy at Fudan
A new "professors only" canteen opens at Fudan University today, triggering elitist complaints from students and other faculty members.
Professors, holding a special dining card, were entitled to better food at a discounted price in the eatery that cost the university 30 million yuan (US$3.6 million) to build. Fudan also subsidizes the canteen to compensate for the discount.
Waiters would also serve professors, rather than the do-it-yourself approach in regular campus canteens. Other faculty members and students are not allowed in this "professor only" canteen.
"The canteen is one of the top deeds the university authority has done to show respect for renowned scholars," said Zhu Keqin, director at Fudan's logistics support department. Zhu said he can't eat at the new cafeteria.
Fudan has more than 600 professors.
Previously, faculty members, regardless of their academic titles, dined in the same canteens with students. The idea of providing a better dining environment for professors was first proposed three years ago.,
"Since only professors are allowed to eat there, it'll be a good occasion for high-level scholars to exchange ideas with each other," Zhu said.
The university president also plans to host regular business lunches in the new cafeteria to discuss university affairs with professors.
"To dine there is a symbol of identity," said Fang Jinggang, a Fudan professor, adding that other professors also welcome the new canteen.
Students are not impressed, however.
"It's inappropriate," said Shen Yaxin, a postgraduate. "It's unfair to distinguish professors from students this way."
Other faculty members, apparently neglected by the university, side with the students.
"If professors can be given this privilege, then what about associate professors and other faculty members," asked an associate professor who requested anonymity.