Tim Tai, Photography Editor

Update, Nov. 20: Following the publication of this article, the University announced that it would provide Grubhub credits for students with a $0 parent share who are remaining on campus while dining halls are closed. 

University administration will not offer meal vouchers for students receiving full financial aid who are staying on campus for Thanksgiving break this year.

The Yale College Dean’s Office offered Thanksgiving break meal vouchers for students who meet 100 percent demonstrated need for the first time in 2021. These vouchers, which were redeemed in-person, could then be applied toward meals obtained from certain food delivery services outside of Yale.

Yale did not release a formal statement informing students that the policy would be changed this year. Instead, students found out about the University not offering vouchers by word of mouth, from Twitter, from their FGLI Community Initiative ambassadors and from Jorge Anaya ’19, the Assistant Director of the Student Engagement Initiative at the Yale College Dean’s Office.

Per a Nov. 11 campus-wide from Yale Hospitality, all University serveries will be closed from Wednesday, Nov. 23 through Saturday, Nov. 26. With the exception of a single Thanksgiving meal on Nov. 24 at the Omni Hotel, there will be no on-campus meals available for students during those aforementioned four days.

“On top of not having the option to go home, this creates an extra burden on FGLI students who have to worry about meals during break,” Kayla Wong ’25 said.

Wong suggested that if vouchers are not an option, the University should curate a plan to reimburse students for their meals or distribute “pre-prepped” meals that students can grab on the go.

Joanna Ruiz ’25 added that students should not have to be “punished” for not being able to go home, regardless if the reason is personal or due to a lack of funds. For Ruiz, it feels frustrating that students are put in a position to pay for a “basic human need,” especially given that Yale certainly has the “capacity to provide.”

As an international student, Sophie Bhurtel ’25 knows how “uncomfortable” and “vulnerable” it can be to not be able to return home during major breaks. Food security can be a big problem for students, she said, noting that not all have the financial capacity to dine out.

Though she said that it is completely understandable for dining halls to close over break, stating that workers deserve to spend time with their families, she emphasized that the news came abruptly and unfairly, preventing students from preparing financially ahead of time for their meals.

Neither Senior Associate Dean of Yale College Burgwell Howard, who is on the FGLI Community Initiative leadership team, nor Dean of Yale College Pericles Lewis responded to requests to comment. 

As of Nov. 17, the Yale College Council has released a statement to Howard, Dean of Yale College Pericles Lewis as well as Yale College Dean of Student Affairs Melanie Boyd regarding the issue, according to Viktor Kagan ’24, a senator for Pierson College. In the letter, various senators and members of the YCC “urge Yale to continue its effective policy” of providing meal vouchers and for the administration to provide an update so that “students are able to make the arrangements needed.”

If Yale truly doesn’t have the financial means to provide meal vouchers for FGLI students and students on financial aid, then it is irresponsible for administration to not have communicated this in a timely manner,”  Ruiz said.

The Morse, Silliman, Timothy Dwight, Davenport, Ezra Stiles, Grace Hopper and Trumbull College dining halls will open for brunch on Sunday, Nov. 27, and all other dining halls will reopen with dinner later that evening.

BRIAN ZHANG
Brian Zhang covers student life for the University desk, and previously housing and homelessness for the City desk. He is a sophomore in Davenport College.