OPINION: Seems like Humber College cancelled lunch time

by | Jan 24, 2020 | Opinion

Neil Gonputh, Opinion Editor

The universally accepted time for lunch is between from noon and to 1 p.m. Yet more than half of my courses, three of six, run right through lunch. I’m sure many reading this are in a similar situation. Why is Humber College holding classes during lunch time?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), students should have at least at least 20 minutes of seat time for lunch. Seat time does not include things like lining up, paying for meals or waiting for microwaves. Seat time is the time you are seated with your meal in front of you.

Ontario’s Employment Standards Act (ESA), Section 20, Paragraph 1, “an employer shall give an employee an eating period of at least at least 30 minutes at intervals that will result in the employee working no more than five consecutive hours without an eating period.” 

Yet for my courses that run through lunch I am only given a 10- or 15-minute coffee break in the name of lunchtime. Lining up for the microwaves at Humber takes more than 10 minutes. It’s next to impossible to eat a complete lunch in that time.

Students aren’t employees but surely someone should take into account our rumblings.

Some professors permit students to eat in class. But that’s awkward. And apparently against college rules. There’s little room around desks for a meal with the computer monitor, keyboard and a notepad. 

Can you even take proper notes while you are eating? Eating a greasy pizza or piece of fried chicken eventually leaves a computer keyboard or pen equally greasy. I hope the warranty on your laptop covers grease.

Can the lecturer or your classmates focus on the lecture while your spoon or fork is clanking against your bowl, and can you focus on the lecture while you eat? Clearly this is a half-baked solution at best, pun intended.

You can always skip class. But you never know when you might need those participation marks, or if something important might be said. 

Plus, you may develop a bad reputation among the professors, which could come back to harm you in later semesters. 

Why should anyone have to choose between attending class and eating a complete lunch? It seems such a choice is often made and unfortunately students typically choose to skip lunch. It is the lesser of two evils, I suppose.

Skipping lunch has consequences. 

Many of my classmates who skip lunch often feel tired and light-headed. It’s no wonder they can’t concentrate during the lecture.

According to Canada’s Food Guide, school lunches and snacks are important because they provide the energy and nutrients needed throughout the day and are a major source of vitamins and minerals.

A 2007 study in the McGill Journal of Medicine and a 2010 study by Yale University both showed people suffering from anorexia lose both white and grey matter in the brain. 

A 2015 study by Stanford University showed a loss in grey matter is linked to mental illnesses including schizophrenia, depression and addiction. 

It seems obvious nothing good comes from skipping lunch and Humber College shouldn’t insist on holding classes during that time.