With some of the truly horrible stuff going on in law these days — law students allegedly trying to kill each other, managing partners having affairs with their subordinates’ wives — it’s almost reassuring to know that people can still afford to get crazily worked up about good old-fashioned nothing.

Some behaviors are the equivalent of anger comfort food. Crappy parking jobs, really annoying commercials, and school lunch theft.

One of the top law schools in California is embroiled in a lunch thievery epidemic. The situation has gotten so out of hand that the Student Bar Association has sent an email to the entire school about the problem.

Any guesses as to which university needs to bump up its cafeteria security?

If you said UCLA School of Law, congratulations. A tipster sent us the following note:

this is the most ridiculous email I have ever received from a student government body… I mean, lawyers are known for being self-important and for taking things a little tooo seriously, but this must be a joke, right?

It’s true, we have covered more than our fair share of silly law school email alerts.

But our readers can be the judges of RefrigeratorGate. Here is the meat of the UCLA email, sent last Friday:

Dear Students,

There have been recent complaints about thefts of lunches from the Student fridge in the kitchenette across from the student lounge. The SBA and the administration take these allegations very seriously, and we want to take this opportunity to remind everyone about the refrigerator policy.

First and foremost, please remember that the school is open to the public, and there is no locking mechanism on the student refrigerator. As such, you always assume the risk of using the student refrigerator. With that in mind, please remember that stealing is a very serious crime. Anyone who is caught stealing from the student refrigerator will be referred to campus security, and if they are a student, to the law school administration as well. The SBA will be coordinating with the campus security office to step up patrols to ensure that the kitchenette is monitored and stealing is deterred as much as possible.

We also highly encourage that you label your lunch with your name or other clear identifying marks to discourage theft as much as possible. If you would prefer to purchase a locking lunchbox, the SBA has found a manufacturer who is willing to provide us with a group deal; the starting price is $19.95 the more people willing to purchase one, the lower the price will be.

The email is attached, in its entirety, on the next page. But first, a couple of preliminary comments:

Students at the number three ranked law school in the state of California, a school with an 85 percent bar passage rate, need to be reminded to label their lunches. That’s nice. Did you hear Oxford University is also offering shoe-tying classes?

Who gets to be the cafeteria cop? Is it Paul Blart? More importantly, does he get a Segway?

I want a lunch lockbox. It sounds very official and important. Maybe something Al Gore and George Bush debated back in 2000. I bet they keep national secrets in there.

But really, the funniest thing about the email to me is not that it was sent. It’s that the SBA decided it was worth getting involved, likely at the insistence of some loudmouth student. When you’re a kid, if somebody steals your lunch, you deal with it. You punch the thief in the nose, you just don’t eat for the day, or you find a way to avoid the bully going forward. You don’t go to the teacher, because that makes you a tattletale.

But somehow, in higher education, whining to authorities about every little problem almost seems encouraged. I’m not victim blaming here. Obviously, nobody should be stealing other people’s lunches. It’s wrong, and it’s kind of gross. But how many lunches need to be stolen to merit an announcement to the entire law school?

On the upside, as long as we have the luxury of getting annoyed over stuff like this, things are probably not as bad as they seem.


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