Dining cuts back on providing food for student groups

Something was missing from this year’s annual Yale Political Union barbecue: food.

Adam Stempel, speaker of the YPU, said his organization cancelled the event when Yale Dining said they would no longer provide food because they could no longer afford it.

Yale Dining has tightened the rules on using meal swipes for tailgates and other events.
Yale Dining has tightened the rules on using meal swipes for tailgates and other events.

The YPU and other student organizations that have asked Dining to provide food for their events say they’re facing stricter regulations. Yale Dining administrators declined to comment on the changes, but members of student groups said the administrators told them that, facing budget cuts, Dining has made an effort to cut down on misuse of their offerings. As a result, some groups have been denied food entirely, though Dining has allowed others, especially residential college councils, to operate as they have in the past.

Yale Dining traditionally provided food for student organizations when large numbers of members would be unable to eat in a dining hall — at a residential college-sponsored tailgate, for instance — or when a group was hosting a large event, such as a barbecue.

Thomas C. Duffy, director of the Yale bands, said Yale Dining used to simply provide a number of bagged meals when the band was traveling for a performance. Now, he said, Dining wants more information on who will be eating these lunches.

“At the beginning of the year, Yale Dining expressed concern about students ‘double-dipping’, or using both a swipe at a dining hall and consuming a lunch pack,” Duffy said. The problem is further complicated by the fact that different members of the band have different meal plans and might be receiving more meals than those included in their plan, Duffy added.

After meeting with Dining, Duffy said he will now submit the names of the specific students who plan to eat a bagged lunch so Yale Dining can keep track of meal plan holders, something already required of college councils that ask for food from Dining.

As for those attending a retreat for La Casa on Saturday, Analisse Marquez ’14 said students had to provide ID numbers so their college dining hall could subtract a meal from their plan. Even though the dining halls knew that anyone on the La Casa retreat wouldn’t be eating on campus, Marquez said, they made sure to detract meal swipes, just in case.

But, Marquez added, under the new rules, students are unable to eat in a dining hall if they change their mind and decide not to attend their events.

Residential college councils that had already asked students for ID numbers in advance of events report few changes.

“[Ezra Stiles College Council] has not been negatively affected at all,” said the college council President Justin Lowenthal ’11. “Dining has actually been more accommodating, coordinating events with us despite the difficulties of living in Swing Space.”

College council members said communicating with Dining before an event is easier for residential colleges than other student organizations because the individual dining halls can keep better track of which students will be attending within their own college.

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