Letter: Vegan options are not just for vegans

We take issue with the article “Vegans rare, but tofu abounds” (Feb.22), because we find its evidence unfounded and feel it puts forth a faulty argument.

First, we do not believe that the article is representative of a majority of omnivores, who seem relatively satisfied with dining hall fare. However, the general sentiment of the article seems to be that having a vegan option in the dining hall harms those who eat meat.

The article’s evidence is shaky at best. Its only statistic — that vegans represent just 1.3 percent of Yale students — is misleading, because most of the Yalies who rely upon the vegan option are not actually vegans, as the vegan option is often also the vegetarian option. Thus, vegetarians, pescetarians, flexitarians, those who keep kosher or adhere to ahimsa or halal, even those who are lactose-intolerant, depend upon the vegan option. And a number of omnivores partake in the vegan option on occasion, whether they know it or not.

One proposal the article advances is to remove vegan options from all but one or two dining halls, since the vegan option “takes room away from food that tastes better.” This plan renders the vegan entree the scapegoat of a more complicated problem. If omnivores are discontented with their dining choices, their efforts should be directed at improving the meat options. If the four or five meat options are not satisfactory, then we doubt that adding a sixth would improve matters.

But more than anything, it disturbs us that there are omnivores so greedy for an additional meat option that they would readily banish many Yale students from their dining halls. At Yale, we emphasize tolerance and the importance of community. In one of its simplest forms, that entails omnivores ceding one of many entree options to their vegan option-dependent brethren.

Nico Casasanto, Michael Giuffrida and Yasha Magarik

Feb. 23

The writers are sophomores in Calhoun College


  • Anonymous

    ¡Well Said!

  • T

    Yes. Thank you for being a voice of reason. And awesome.

  • Yale 11

    All the dining halls are garbage except for Slifka.

    I heard the Law School once had great lunch for undergrads…

  • Yale 2012

    Totally in agreement. As an omnivore, I’d be annoyed if they got rid of the vegan options. I often find that some of the vegan food is tastier than many of the dry, fatty meats.

  • PC ’10

    Thank you for saying everything that needed to be said so eloquently and succinctly.

    I just wish the YDN would stop publishing poorly researched and poorly thought-out articles like the one in question. For those of us with more than half a brain, it is really annoying to have to respond to such drivel.

  • Thank you

    A voice of reason and tolerance. Thank you.

  • Yes

    I am definitely one of those who is disappointed when the only tasty looking item turns out to be made of tofu. (I simply don’t like tofu…it’s the texture.)

    That said, the problem isn’t the one item made of tofu, it’s the fact that six out of seven items for dinner simply aren’t tasty. Getting rid of the vegan option might just mean that seven out of seven won’t be tasty. We should all lobby together in favor of tastiness, not divide into factions of vegans v. carnivores.

  • 12

    yes yes yes!

  • y11

    Thank you for bringing some sanity. Shame on the YDN for such poor reporting.

  • Yale ’11

    As a vegetarian, I really appreciated this letter. Thanks for speaking up for those of us who rely on the (often amazingly delicious) vegan option for food.

  • FailBoat

    Meat is not just for omnivores. Vegetarians and vegans create arbitrary rules regarding their diet. Any of them could eat meat if they wanted to.

  • Professor Legume

    Well spoken indeed. This letter is reasonable and well argued. I appreciate it a lot.

    And @FailBoat, shouldn’t we respect someone’s choice of diet? Should we make vegans and vegetarians eat meat? I think that would be simply wrong, especially if there are moral reasons behind it.

    And what about those who are lactose intolerant? That choice is far from arbitrary.