“The selective service currently has an acceptance rate of 34.2%,” said General Khosla.
Photo by James Woolley
On Monday, UC San Diego revealed its plans to enact a draft program for all students living on campus. Those conscripted will be placed into the Housing, Dining & Hospitality Corps to assist with lengthy dining hall wait times. Colonel Kathryn Chung, newly minted base commander of Fort OceanView, says it was the only solution. “Week 1 was hell; between the forever-hungry first-year students and the lack of crew we had, we were stretched too thin and had to find a way to make students work,” Chung said. “So why not make it compulsory?”
Many students expressed outrage at the program’s requirements, including three weeks of unpaid basic training and 20 10-hour weeks of service. Private Kathryn Swift shared her feelings on the time commitment, stating, “This is nuts. With 20 weeks, each 10 hours, that’s like… 600 hours! I’m going to fail my math class because of this.”
Incoming conscripts will be shipped off to the newly built HDH East Training Base, which was built on top of the recently demolished Warren Lecture Hall. Trainees will first be required to sign a 20-week contract with the option to renew afterwards. Basic training will consist of tool training at a market kitchen, lunch-rush scenarios in a pop-up market, and standing conditioning at RIMAC Field. Students who are already working for HDH will be grandfathered through the basic training and will receive the pay scale and rank of private first class. Career workers will have the rank of corporal, but will earn the pay of a private first class.
The HDH Corps has also undergone an overhaul to build “team spirit.” Soldiers are now instructed to wear bright blue fatigues with camouflage face paint while working. Standard issue equipment to everyone is a Smith & Wesson 2012 Spatula-04 with quick draw grip, flashlight attachment, and holster belt. Soldiers are also no longer allotted a meal from their dining fort and they are instead given a UCSD 2023 Type 1 Lasagna MRE with a 10-minute break.
Four-star General Pradeep Khosla shared his beliefs on the program’s outlook, saying, “We needed a new solution, and here it is. With the Housing, Dining & Hospitality Corps, we have seen a 2,000% increase in productivity from dining halls, a reduction in overflowing trash bins, and orders processed like a well-oiled machine. If we keep seeing results like these, we’ll institute our next plan: drafting grad students to teach classes and replace those costly professors,” General Khosla said. “We aren’t the only ones getting something out of this program; these soldiers will learn what it really means to be disciplined, and we are offering a limited time signing bonus of 50 Dining Dollars for soldiers to spend at any dining hall they see fit.” UCSD is expected to save $20 million in wage costs by implementing mandatory service.
The program has attracted controversy for its exemption policies, as it only allows students of faculty and those able to afford a $20,000 donation to the Chancellor’s Party Fund to opt out of service. “This is just punishing low-income students. I literally won this school a Fields Medal when I redefined mathematics, yet I have to spend the next 23 weeks learning how to make watermelon nigiri just because I can’t afford to opt out,” said student Bederp Crater. The HDH Corps has clarified that those who dodge the draft will be court-martialed and, if found guilty, will be expelled from UCSD.