University Plans ‘Info Session’ Regarding New Dining Plan Fees
An “info session” will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at both the Beren and Wilf Campuses to clarify the newly revised dining plan that was implemented earlier this academic year, Dean of Students Dr. Chaim Nissel announced via an email to the entire student body on Friday, Nov. 15.
“We understand that students have many questions about the new meal plan structure,” Nissel wrote. “Yeshiva University Dining Services would like to invite all students to an info session to respond to your questions and better explain the meal plan structure.” The Beren session will be held from 2:45 to 3:30 p.m. in Yagoda Commons, and the Wilf forum will be held from 5:45 to 6:30 p.m. in the Rubin Shul.
Students were irked by changes to the university’s student dining plan instituted at the beginning of the semester. Under the new plan, participants are charged a flat $1,350 “membership fee” for the academic year. Becoming a member provides discounts of 35-40% from standard pricing for non-members on food sold in a YU cafeteria. Mili Chizhik (SCW ‘22) garnered over 250 signatures on a petition she drafted in opposition to the new meal plan.
When asked about the purpose of the information sessions as well as if any changes to the dining plan are forthcoming, Nissel said he is keeping an open mind. “We want to hear the student sentiment and fully understand the issues involved. At that point, we can see what the options are moving forward.”
Chief Facilities and Administrative Officer Randy Apfelbaum contends that the new meal plan was designed to cater to students’ needs. “They are to discuss the current plan and dispel some misinformation that has been circulating,” he said regarding the forums. “We would also like to hear student comments and feedback. Ultimately we want the dining plans to work for the students. That’s their only purpose.”
Chizhik, however, disagrees with Apfelbaum’s assessment, and feels the information session should have been held earlier in the semester. “After waiting seven weeks for the administration to respond to my [petition], they send the email inviting students to these meetings to try and explain the structure of the meal plan,” she said. “Maybe the meetings will allow students to gain an understanding of why they will have to start skipping meals to last the remaining time in the semester.”
“There is no reason why we would need to gain an understanding of the structure of the meal plan,” she added, noting that students who oppose the revised dining plan should make an effort to attend the meetings. “Perhaps instead of explaining how everything works they should just take responsibility for the fact that they took money from students, many of whom can barely afford tuition itself.”
Some students, like Sara Verschleisser (SCW ‘21), were concerned with the vague language of the email. “Explaining the meal plan is pointless unless they are ready to take constructive criticism,” she remarked.
Other students, like Temmi Lattin (SCW ‘22), reacted to the email with optimism. “Taking students’ opinions into account in a formal setting by providing an opportunity to have questions answered seems like a very positive step towards valuing student input,“ she noted.
Photo Caption: The Furman Dining Hall on the Wilf Campus
Photo Credit: The Commentator