Though graduate students’ meal plans allow them to eat in residential college dining halls, most cannot use their ID cards to enter the colleges.
Two residential college masters interviewed said the policy of denying graduate students swipe access to college courtyards, which has been in place since at least 2007, is intended to preserve community among college residents. But seven of 10 graduate students interviewed said they were frustrated that they had to loiter at the gates of residential colleges on weekends, when the dining hall of the Hall of Graduate Studies is closed. Morse College Master Amy Hungerford said the college dining halls will soon forbid graduate students from eating in dining halls on Sunday nights.
“College access is granted to members of [the college’s] community and not granted to those who are not members of the community,” Berkeley College Master Marvin Chun, who chairs the Services Committee of the Council of Masters, said in an email to the News.
He added the policy of excluding most graduate students from the residential colleges was made by the Council of Masters and predates his mastership, which began in 2007. Chun added that graduate students who are matched with a residential college through the Graduate and Professional Affiliate Program have access to their host colleges and their dining halls, though he said such programs are limited for budgetary reasons. Over 150 graduate and professional students currently maintain affiliations with residential colleges.
Hungerford, another member of the Council of Masters’ Services Committee, agreed with Chun.
“Graduate students are welcome in our dining hall, and we don’t want them to feel unwelcome,” Hungerford said, but she added that high numbers of graduate students in Morse dining hall lead to overcrowding.
Hungerford said that she did not know of any complaints from graduate students about the policy, but added that they are subject to the same barriers to entry as many faculty, who only have access to a residential college if they are fellows of the college or if their offices are in the college.
Cathy van Dyke, the director of residential dining, said in a Tuesday email that of roughly 164 graduate students enrolled in a meal plan, 40 to 50 eat in residential college dining halls on the weekends. Other Yale Dining and Graduate School administrators were not available to comment on the masters’ policy.
Graduate students interviewed said they find fault in the masters’ policy.
Ksenia Sidorenko GRD ’15, who does not have a dining plan, said that her friends do complain that they have to “lurk” outside residential colleges to eat in dining halls.
“It makes things very difficult that we aren’t allowed the same access,” Charles Faint GRD ’13 said, who added that graduate students also lacked weekend access to classroom buildings, language tutors and other resources, though these resources are available to undergraduates.
The HGS dining hall is open for lunch and dinner on weekdays.