Faculty access to on-campus meals remains restricted
Due to public health concerns, faculty are not allowed to eat at residential college dining halls this year, but they have access to other dining options.
Hedy Tung, Photo Editor
Faculty have been prohibited from eating at residential college dining halls during the semester. The rule was instituted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and restricts them to other dining options on campus, such as Steep Cafe.
According to an Aug. 30 email sent to faculty by Tamar Gendler, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, faculty receive complimentary lunches Monday through Friday, courtesy of the FAS Dean’s Office. In a September email to faculty, Yale Hospitality said that faculty swipes are worth $9.50 and can cover a sandwich or salad with fruit and water. In the past, professors have been able to use their meal swipes in typical student dining halls. However this semester, because Yale remains in the yellow COVID-19 alert level, faculty are prohibited from eating at residential college dining halls. In the places they can receive meals, they are encouraged to go when there are few students.
“The idea [of eating in residential college dining halls] is to get the faculty to interact with the students,” professor of chemistry James Mayer told the News. “So it is kind of odd when there’s no students around.”
Gendler wrote in a Sept. 29 email to faculty that they are allowed to use their meal swipes at Commons or the Steep Cafe in the Yale Science Building, but they should go at low-traffic times. According to Gendler, the high traffic times at Commons for faculty to avoid are 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday. This guidance, along with the prohibition on eating in residential college dining halls, limits the opportunities for faculty to meet with students over meals.
However, Gendler said that there will be updates to the policy should Yale move from the yellow to green alert level, and it is possible that new guidance could be available later in the term. According to Mary Magri, Lead Administrator of the Office of the Dean of FAS, the decision as to whether faculty will be able eat in residential colleges later has not been determined and “will be based on current health situation as well as capacity in the dining halls.”
“As the pandemic subsides, I look forward to once again encouraging faculty-student meals,” Gendler wrote in her Sept. 29 email.
Dana Courtney, the Yale Hospitality director of business administration and finance, told the News that Yale Hospitality customizes dining options for different people on campus, so faculty plans are different than those for students. Courtney added that due to the pandemic, service standards were modified to meet University guidelines and people’s requests.
According to Mayer, most faculty do not use their complimentary meal swipes in a typical year. He said that the restrictions on dining have not made it difficult for him to meet with students, since faculty can simply meet with students in their offices or in building lounges.
Mayer said that there used to be a dining option in which faculty could fill out a form to get a card that allowed graduate students or teaching fellows to receive free meals. He said teaching fellows have enjoyed getting to see how the undergraduates live and running into students from their classes.
In her August email, Gendler wrote that faculty can complete an online form for colleagues, graduate students or other authorized visitors to get meals. However, this requires that faculty charge their meals to a personal Yale account, and they will be billed monthly for those meals on their Yale Account Statement through the University’s eBill-ePay system.
According to Lead Administrator of the Office of the Dean of FAS Mary Magri, there were no faculty meal swipes last year due to the pandemic.
There are 4,962 faculty members at Yale.