From 5:45 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, students in Silliman College will still be able to study and talk with their peers from other colleges — just not in their dining hall.
Beginning last week, the Silliman Dining Hall stopped serving transfer students for half of the dinner period during the school week. The move makes Silliman the third college — after Morse and Stiles colleges — to deny transfer students access to the dining hall for the majority of the week. While students were divided on the need for Silliman’s dining hall restriction, Silliman College Master Judith Krauss said the college faced overcrowding for all three meals, especially after Commons stopped serving dinner in 2011.
“[W]e serve the largest number of breakfasts by far,” Krauss said in an email. “Our dining hall has always been crowded at lunch and also at dinner, ever since Commons closed for dinner.”
Krauss added that this change is meant to provide Silliman students with “a small window of peace” during the dinner service. Still, she noted that the college is working with Dining Services to keep track of the effects of this change and whether the timing might need to be adjusted.
The Silliman College Council and the Council of Masters supported Master Krauss’s decision. Marvin Chun, master of Berkeley College, said that Krauss came with data that clearly showed that Silliman was dealing with many more students in its dining hall than other colleges.
Chun said that ideally, dining would be evenly split between the colleges, but in reality it is “almost a necessity” to have these restrictions.
“It is unfair to those college students who can’t find a seat in their own dining hall,” he said.
Despite administrative support, student reactions to this decision have been more mixed.
On one of the first nights after the change was implemented, Alex Borsa ’16, a student in Silliman, said he had forgotten about the new policy until he stepped into the dining hall and was struck by how much more space was available.
Borsa said he enjoyed being able to sit with his friends and not face limited space or large crowds. Before the change, he added that he avoided his own dining hall during peak hours.
Still, others have been less satisfied with the new policy.
Alex Reinking ’16, a member of Trumbull college, said in the past, he always ate dinner at Silliman because it was the most convenient dining hall on his way back from classes. Since the change, however, he has not eaten there once. Because his class ends at 6 p.m., he would have to wait an hour to eat at Silliman.
The policies at Morse, Stiles and now Silliman are unfair to students across Yale College, Reinking said. He added that while he pays the same amount for his meal plan as every student in Morse, Stiles or Silliman, for four days of the week they have greater access to dining halls than he does.
Elizabeth Vincent ’15 disagreed, saying she empathized with both sides of the debate.
“As someone in Morse, I definitely make sure to get dinner before the transfers … storm the dining hall … and all the food runs out,” she said. “But I was also on the women’s crew team … so I know how important it is for team building to be able to get dinner with your teammates after practice, which is obviously not feasible in dining halls that don’t allow transfers.”
Vincent added that the transfer restriction makes sense for some overcrowded dining halls. She also noted that because Morse, Stiles and Silliman colleges have large dining halls that naturally attract large groups, they are more prone to busier dinner service.
Commons stopped serving breakfast in August.