No ID? No food– and no diploma

Amidst the panic and change brought about by the rapid spread of COVID-19, Westminster’s administration issued a statement regarding an even more pressing issue plaguing the Westminster community: the use of student IDs at the bookstore and campus center. Since the introduction of the student ID just this year, Westminster students and faculty alike have, at times, struggled to acclimate to the drastic change in the way they purchase their between-class iced coffees and Nam’s Bits. Fortunately, one benefit of this period of social distancing and isolation is that it has provided the opportunity to reflect on this important issue, which will be met with drastic changes in the coming school year. 

Now, students and faculty who are unable to produce their ID at the time of purchase in the bookstore and campus center will not only go without their desired midday snack, but may face suspension, and in the case of repeat offenders, expulsion. In addition, those who leave tips on students engaging in such illicit activity will be rewarded with one of the leftover Lilly Pulitzer pencil pouches the bookstore has been trying to get rid of for the past five years. This punishment was enacted after much deliberation with the Westminster alumni base and board of directors. Both sides agreed that change was necessary in order to maintain Westminster’s legacy of moral and academic excellence. 

“We found that those who forgot their ID were not contributing to Westminster in a positive manner,” said an anonymous administrator. “The evidence was shocking– appalling, even.”

Administrators found that students who forgot their IDs on a regular basis were more likely to have illegally parked in front of Robison than those who remembered their ID. Furthermore, students who illicitly purchased the classic mid-lecture snack, Cheez-Its, displayed symptoms of addiction to both the salty cracker and the crime. Episodes involving these pre-packaged squares of cheese often led to violent altercations, one clip of which was featured on WorldStar just last semester. Perhaps most frighteningly to administration, these events have proven to drastically lengthen the wait time in the bookstore and campus center, hindering the efficiency of these capitalist machines which power Westminster. As these two centers of commerce account for roughly 90 percent of Westminster’s yearly operating budget, many in the Office for Institutional Advancement pushed for change.

However, the straw that broke the camel’s back came when a masked assailant, armed with the automatic stapler from the second floor of the library, stole three packs of the bookstore’s prized Haribo Sour S’ghetti Assorted Gummi Candy (5 oz) under the cover of darkness in retribution for not being able to illegally purchase them during the day. Prosecutors are still on the lookout for the criminal, although some have theorized that it may have actually been a middle school boy, as the aggressor stood just five feet tall. After this incident, administrators felt that they had no choice but to do something drastic, a measure which has been met with conflicted response.

“Westminster is supposed to be an elite learning environment, so if you’re unable to learn how to bring your ID to the bookstore after lunch, maybe you should look elsewhere for an education,” says junior Aydin Bandukwala, who has not once in his high school career forgotten his ID. “We, as a community, should have absolutely no tolerance for behavior like that.”

However, some students do not feel so strongly as Bandukwala on the issue. Many are familiar with the soul-crushing pain that accompanies the realization that they have forgotten their ID. Without their ID, they cannot purchase the plastic baggies stuffed with mouth-drying carbohydrates that they so desire (and often require in order to push through the last hour of a lunch period that, strangely enough, only involves lunch for 35 of its 125 minutes). In theory, this should be punishment enough.

“I’ve had to fight back tears when I am told that I can’t buy without an ID,” says senior Lauren Kennedy. “It’s already bad enough that I can’t munch on my Clif bar during english, but to expel kids for not having their ID? Let’s just say I’m happy to be graduating this year.”

Westminster’s resident mathlete Aaron Yu ran the numbers– if this policy was enacted last year, roughly 60 percent of the student body would have faced internal discipline, including a visit with the discipline council. With exactly 198 infractions, the class of 2024 led the way in terms of hypothetical suspensions. Furthermore, in total, almost 40 students would have faced expulsion for repeat offenses. One student, who we have chosen to keep anonymous due to concerns over their personal safety, recorded nearly 100 trips to the bookstore without their ID. Such behavior is why some middle schoolers feel “unsafe” when entering spaces like the campus center, a recent survey found. Faced with the gravity of this information, administrators say that they had no choice but to turn to more extreme measures. 

“It was a hard choice, but definitely one that I believe will benefit our community greatly,” said an anonymous administrator. “We can now honestly advertise ourselves as the premier private school in the Buckhead area.”