Student council members: Ice cream is not 'inclusive' enough

Student council members at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are asking the school to change the ingredients in its official ice cream to be more 'inclusive.'

The students say that minority students of certain religious backgrounds cannot enjoy the ice cream, which contains beef gelatin, without violating their religious beliefs.

Student council members at The University of Wisconsin-Madison are demanding the school change the ingredients in the official university ice cream, claiming that the current ingredients are discriminatory toward some minority students.

UW-M’s official ice cream, the Babcock, contains a beef gelatin additive, which according to the legislation, “renders certain communities such as the Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and vegetarian unable to enjoy it without violating their beliefs.”

The legislation, titled “Ice Cream for All,” is already has eight sponsors, including the Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary of the Associated Students of Madison Student Council. The ASM student council is comparable to a student government senate. The “Ice Cream for All” legislation will be voted on next Wednesday. 

The ASM Student Council can only recommend changes to the university administration. Nothing that the ASM Student Council passes is, in fact, a definitive change.

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The legislation states that the Babcock Ice Cream is an important tradition at UW-M, and “it would be a gross act of discrimination to continue to deprive some minority students” from eating the ice cream because of their religious beliefs. Sponsors of the legislation also added that issues like this play a part in the marginalization of students.

“Symbolic issues like these have always and will always play a critical role in whether marginalized students and people feel welcome, included, and connected to their community,” reads the legislation.

However, according to The Badger Herald, Scott Rankin, chair of the food science department, said the university ice cream shop, Babcock Dairy, offers an assortment of ice creams that are gelatin free, adding that it would be hard to replicate the taste of the gelatin-based ice cream.

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Yogev Ben-Yitschak, co-sponsor of the resolution as well as ASM Vice Chair, responded to Rankin’s claim, stating that Babcock Ice Cream cannot taste that much different without the gelatin additive.

If passed by the Student Council next Wednesday, it would serve as an acknowledgment by the ASM that the university marginalizes students by “having the official campus ice cream not be inclusive to religious students on campus.”

If passed, the ASM would “condemn” events sponsored by the university which serve Babcock Ice Cream, and will not be hosting any events with the ice cream themselves. The sponsors claim that the possible Babcock Ice Cream strike shows “solidarity with religious students.”

In addition, if the resolution is passed, the ASM recommends that the administration, unions, and dining halls all “acknowledge” that the official ice cream of the university marginalizes religious students on campus.

A University of Wisconsin-Madison spokeswoman told Campus Reform on Thursday that the school already “produces and sells ‘super premium’ ice cream, sherbet and Greek frozen yogurt options that are made with a plant-based stabilizer and are gelatin-free, adding that there is also ”lactose-free ice cream for people who are lactose intolerant.”

Campus Reform reached out to the sponsors of the legislation but has not received a response.