Five Years Later: Remembering the Val Grilled Chicken Tragedy


THE MUCK-RAKE CENTER, Amherst, MA — Today marks the fifth anniversary of the now infamous “Valentine Grilled Chicken Experiment.” The seemingly innocuous experiment, conducted by Amherst psychology major Wayne Meyers ’09, involved studying the effects on diners when grilled chicken was made unavailable.

The setup was simple: grilled chicken would remain posted on the menu, but the trough would be continuously empty. If asked, Val workers were told to assure diners that the chicken would be ready in “about ten minutes.” However, due to a horrendous series of coincidences, flaws, and overlooked factors, the experiment resulted in perhaps one of the greatest humanitarian tragedies in Valentine Dining Hall history. The Muck-Rake’s team has uncovered the original journal, with complete entries, from the experiment. We post them here today not only as an act of remembrance, but also as a warning to future psychology majors to never tamper with an athlete’s protein.

What follows are the original entries taken verbatim from Wayne Meyers’ journal:

4:30 – Gates open. Obviously, no students yet—not even the elderly dine this early.

4:55 – A couple dozens students have filtered in. A few mild complaints about chicken. Some students wait, but none more than five minutes. Most take deli meat instead.

5:15 – Increased diner flow and increased irritation. Several utterances of “classic Val” and “so fucking stupid,” but most diners don’t really seem to care.

5:34 – Freshman dropped his tray on his way to the front room. Three bean chili everywhere. Hilarious. Unrelated to experiment.

5:46 – Diner volume increasing steadily now. Many diners becoming more indignant. Longer line forming at lighter side. Val workers appear increasingly stressed.

5:58 – Deli meats running low. Val chefs tell me there’s little left in fridge.

6:07 – Sports teams beginning to arrive post-practice. Lighter side line swelling to record length. General unhappiness is palpable. Traditional side (Noodle Bar) is seeing some begrudging traffic.

6:12 – Noodle Bar out of all protein-based toppings. Pizza running low. Deli meats gone. Several patrons becoming enraged. One says loudly, “Are you serious?! This is fucking ridiculous!” Many in the line nod heads in agreement. More athletes are arriving post-practice.

6:18 – All meat-based protein is exhausted. No diced chicken in the salad line. No non-vegetarian toppings left at noodle bar. Line is disintegrating, becoming a crowd. One val worker is crying. Several altercations between members of different sports teams.

6:23 – General disruption and clamor. The entire serving area is packed. Only fragmented words and phrases are distinguishable: “Macros,” “fuck Val,” “protein,” “starving,” “fuck salads,” “out of everything,” “fuck this,” “I hate everything,” etc., alongside various guttural noises.

6:29 – Athletes have coalesced into team-mobs. Most non-athletes have fled. Fighting is breaking out among the teams. Unsure if it’s safe to remain.

6:30 – Val workers have fled. Chaos erupting in serving area. Campus police have been called.

6:31 – Val gates have been closed to contain the violence. Unintentionally creating thunderdome-like effect within serving area. Teams are attacking each other with cutlery and bowls. The track team is attempting to run away, but there is nowhere to run.

6:32 – The lax and tennis teams are in an all-out brawl near the cereal bar. Blood is spattered on the Lucky Charms.

6:33 – The football team is eating the soccer team.

6:34 – Campus police have arrived, but are unsure of what to do.

6:36 – Campus police have decided to let the rioters “wear themselves out.”

6:37 – The football team is eating the hockey team.

6:45 – Violence continues, though some appear to be tiring.

6:58 – Most rioters are either dead or no longer hungry. Bloodshed diminishing.

7:10 – Val gates opened by police. Survivors file out. Some grab dessert (zucchini spice cake).

7:30 – Val gates closed.

Dining Services Adds Exciting New Options: Bacon Avocado Sandwiches, Poison


VALENTINE DINING HALL, Amherst, MA — In it’s efforts to increase student satisfaction with Valentine, Dining Services has announced two new options that will be available this week: the acclaimed bacon avocado sandwich, and cyanide, the poison most able to snuff out a human life.

In a brief press conference, Dining Services said they hoped that the Amherst student’s discerning taste buds will appreciate the crisp, flavorful bacon’s interaction with fresh-picked avocados—inspected for quality by dining services staff—just as much as they appreciate the cyanide, located adjacent to the balsamic vinaigrette, and its almost instant lethality.

The earliest students in line for the offerings reported great satisfaction with the rich, savory taste of the bacon avocado sandwich, while the final smiles of the cyanide-testers betrayed an infinitely simpler happiness at having finally shuffled off this mortal coil.

“We want to increase your options here at Valentine Dining Hall, especially since there aren’t many others on campus,” continued Charles G. Thompson, director of Dining Services, with a chuckle. “So we’ve decided to offer a sandwich with locally sourced bacon and avocados, lettuce from our very own Book and Plow, and all on a freshly baked bun; in addition to what could be considered the most radical freedom, the ultimate choice: the ability to deny being subject to the constant coercion of your own animal instincts of self-preservation.”

“Oh, the sweetness of the abyss! And bacon avocado!” he added.

Student Activist Goes on One-Night Hunger Strike

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VALENTINE HALL, Amherst, Ma. – In the wake of recent administrative scandals, student activist Amy Graham ’14 announced a hunger strike immediately upon entering Val this evening.

“I saw a line for jambalaya and just hit my breaking point. I’ve had it up to here with this bullshit!” she told reporters. “How long will I go? Who knows. Maybe until Chicken Wing Bar. Maybe all the way until Kielbasa night. Maybe until this administration shapes the fuck up!”

Some have questioned Graham’s commitment to her hunger strike. Predicted Mindy Baxter ’14, self-identified “friend” of Graham’s, “she’ll totally be at Scwhemm’s later.”

“All I know,” concluded Graham to an astonished front-room audience, “is that we don’t know the real reason for Larimore’s resignation, and that nothing tastes as good as not eating blackened catfish feels.”

Valgate: Biddy Staffer Fired Over Serving Line Closings

Screen shot 2014-01-29 at 6.58.17 PMAMHERST, Ma. – In the wake of the expanding scandal now known as “Valgate,” President Martin has defended her decision to fire staffer James “Jim” Larimore over his alleged involvement in a deliberate effort to create a traffic bottleneck in Val earlier today by closing all lines except the Lighter Side serving station.

An email thread released this afternoon shows Larimore writing to fellow staffer Patricia O’Hara, “Time for a traffic jam in Val.”  O’Hara responded, “Got it.”

O’Hara later wrote to Larimore expressing concern that students were unable to both eat and get to class on time after waiting in lines that stretched to Keefe Campus Center: “I feel bad for the kids.”  Larimore replied, “They are the children of Williams alumni.”

President Martin, although acknowledging this lunch hour’s extreme line lengths, denied knowledge of a deliberate effort to disrupt service in Val.

When questioned about the impact that “Valgate” might have on her reputation as a bully and her possible bid for the college presidency of Harvard, Martin called the reporter an “idiot” and told him to “mind [his] own fucking business and keep [his] nose out of other people’s shit.”

While the controversy has some student leaders up in arms, a few eye-witness reports indicate that today’s unusually long lines may be due to nothing more than a shortage of Egg McCharlies.

Dining Services Offers “All You Can Grab-N-Go” Thanksgiving Special

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AMHERST, Ma. – Following on the heels of Valentine Dining Hall’s much-beloved “Thanksgiving Dinner” night, Dining Services has announced a festive new option for students on the move this Thanksgiving. “We know that the busy students of today might not have time in their schedules to go home and have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with their families,” explained Director of Dining Services Charlie Thompson in a Muck-Rake exclusive interview, “so we created ‘All You Can Grab-N-Go’ with all of you in mind.”

The new dining option, which students may choose instead of the usual turkey dinner in the warmth and comfort of their own homes, will allow students to grab as many of the ordinary Grab-N-Go offerings as they like, so long as they remain “physically capable of going” in the process. “You want eight yogurt cups? 14 bags of Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips? All the Coastal Road coffee you can drink?” a visibly excited Thompson asked the Muck-Rake staff rhetorically. “If you can go with it, you can grab it.”

Torin Moore, Director of Residential Life, was similarly excited for the new offering. According to Moore, “through a not-at-all-questionable partnership with All College, Inc., the College has procured hundreds of storage boxes and laundry bags to help students make the most of their Thanksgiving Grab-N-Go experience. Fill up a bag or box with food, and remember All College, Inc. next time you’re doing laundry or moving out!”

Dining Services has confirmed that the Grab-N-Go sandwich staple Roast Turkey with Aged White Cheddar on a Multigrain Roll will not be served.