Editorial: How to make dining more accessible

During a meeting Feb. 19, the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate met to hear a resolution regarding Tufts Dining. Some of the changes it proposed include extending the dining halls’ hours of operation, expanding dining uphill and including more options for halal- and kosher-observing students. We support these changes as part of an effort to rationalize and expand dining services and option.

Dining hall hours should be extended. For various students, the time that the dining halls open on weekdays — 7:15 a.m. at Carmichael Dining Center and 7:30 a.m. at Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center — is too late. Many sports teams have practice before these opening times multiple days each week. For example, the women’s crew team usually starts its practice sometime between 6 a.m. to 6:45 a.m. Other students have early morning exams; Chem-0001 exams are sometimes held at 7:15 a.m., leaving students with no time to eat. Students should not have to take a test or attend practice with an empty stomach. It is not necessary for all dining options to open that early; it would be beneficial if students could get food somewhere on campus early in the mornings. Such a change would help students fulfill their commitments without going hungry in the mornings.

While students have a plethora of downhill dining spots including Dewick, Hodgdon Food-on-the-Run, the Commons Marketplace and Pax et Lox Glatt Kosher Deli, the students living uphill have significantly fewer options. This can lead to various issues, especially considering that Carmichael closes at 8 p.m. Students who need to eat during the night are able to grab food downhill; where Dewick is open until 9 p.m. on weeknights, and Hodgdon is open until 10 p.m. TCU Senate proposed adding a cafe in F.W. Olin Center for Language and Cultural Studies as a way to ameliorate this disparity. This cafe would be ideally placed, giving students uphill the opportunity to grab snacks in between classes during the school day and providing a chance to get something to eat after Carmichael closes.

Further, the dining halls at Tufts should do more to include students who follow halal and kosher diets. Dewick and Carmichael both serve halal grilled chicken breast at lunch and Pax et Lox is a kosher deli, but there are still constraints. For instance, halal hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken can be cooked to order upon request, but only at Carmichael at dinner. Rabbi Naftali Brawer, the Neubauer executive director at Tufts Hillel, told the Daily in an email that offering more halal and kosher options would enhance diversity and inclusion at Tufts. Brawer said he knew of kosher-observant students who wouldn’t apply to the university because their dietary restrictions wouldn’t be met.

Tufts should make sure to implement a variety of changes to its dining options to make sure its students are able to eat when they need to, whether studying for a chemistry exam at 10 p.m. or before that same exam the next morning. Students should also have access to food that meets their religious requirements. All of these policy changes recommended by the TCU Senate would go a long way toward improving religious inclusivity and student life at Tufts.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misstated Hodgdon Food-on-the-Run’s closing time as 10:30 p.m. In fact, Hodgdon closes at 10 p.m. The article has been updated to reflect this change. The Daily regrets this error.