Yale graduate and professional students are voicing their concerns over the possible closing of Marigolds, the Yale School of Medicine cafeteria. With few dining options in the area, students said they rely on the cafeteria, which is currently under review by Yale officials for financial reasons.

Graduate students said they are concerned about the effect the closing would have on the lives of graduate students and those who work in the area. Marigolds is located in Harkness Hall, a graduate student dormitory that also houses the offices of medical school admissions, student affairs, financial aid and multicultural affairs.

“[Marigolds is] important to a broader community,” said Jason Marshall, SOM ’04 and President of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS). “People live in the dormitory over there — It’s important to have the meal plan option on campus. Also, [it is important] to a small number of undergrads who work, study, and work on projects there.”

A petition was circulated this week in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health by the Epidemiology and Public Health Student Organization (EPHSO), asking for student signatures in support of Marigolds.

In addition, members of the GPSS sent a resolution to the deans of the medical school, public health and the School of Nursing, among other officials, on Feb. 19. The GPSS represents over 5,000 graduate and professional students at Yale and is working in close contact with EPHSO.

“The Graduate and Professional Student Senate resolves that the continued presence of a dining hall on the medical campus is of interest and is essential to the quality of life and safety of Graduate and Professional Students,” the resolution states.

Marshall stressed the GPSS’s desire to be involved in decisions that affect graduate students, particularly those decisions related to the University’s attempts to cut costs.

“The whole university is in a budget crunch,” Marshall said. “How is that being paid for right now? … The medical school and the medical students are paying for it — there may be some creative solutions here and we would like to help the administration explore them.”

Yale University spokesman Thomas Conroy said the cafeteria is under review, though no conclusion has been reached.

“No decisions have been made, [but] the operation of the cafeteria is being discussed,” Conroy said. “It’s in the context of the broad, university-wide review of operations.”

While GPSS members expected a decision on March 1, Bonnie Pau EPH ’04 said she thought the GPSS’s letter may have delayed the decision.

“Because GPSS represents such a large portion of graduate and professional students, I’m sure those in charge of making this decision will have to consider GPSS’s position,” Pau, who lives in Harkness Hall as a Graduate Associate, said in an e-mail.

Graduate students expressed concerns that once Marigolds closes, they will not have enough dining options.

“Residents already have had issues in the past with not having options for weekend meal plans,” Pau said. “The variety of food options within their walking radius (including undergraduate dining halls) has been limited, especially since most do not have personal transportation. In addition, without a nearby grocery store, residents have very limited, even inadequate access to buying groceries if they choose to cook for themselves.”

In addition, students are concerned about the safety of students who will have to search for late meals, once the food carts that line Cedar Street close for the night.

“The absence of a dining hall on the medical campus raises quality of life issues as well as safety concerns,” Stephen Vindigni, EPH ’04 and GPSS Public Relations Director, said in an e-mail. “Professional students will be forced to travel further for meals, especially dinner when most local establishments are closed.”

No date has been set for a decision regarding the issue.

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