Campus News

Community members petition against new dining hall policy

UW-Madison community members have created a petition against the new dining hall policy that would require students to spend a minimum of $1,400 on dining.

Image By: Jon Yoon

Furthering the backlash about a new dining hall policy that would require incoming students living in residence halls to spend a minimum of $1,400 on dining, a number of UW-Madison community members have responded with a petition condemning the policy.

Co-authored by undergraduate Rena Newman and alumna Brooke Evans, the petition — created last week in collaboration with various student organizers and alumni — expressed concerns and frustration about the discriminatory nature of the dining hall policy for students.

The policy mandates that students living in residence halls spend a minimum of $1,400 — in quarterly $350 deposits — on dining within the academic year starting next fall. The policy was implemented in an effort to provide insight on expected dining costs for incoming students, according to University Housing Director Jeff Novak.

According to the petition, the policy does not consider financial, cultural, religious, medical and dietary needs of students. Newman emphasized that the plan is problematic for students, parents, alumni and other UW affiliates due to its “discriminatory” and “ambiguous” nature.

“Dining facilities are daunting to navigate for students who need kosher or halal foods, have diabetes, food allergies, are gluten-free, vegan, and more,” the petition reads. “This policy is discriminatory on the basis of medical disability, religion, and cultural observance.”

Additionally, Newman and Evans emphasized that many incoming students have already signed housing contracts without knowledge of this policy, raising further ethical concerns with the university.

While the survey only just became available to the public today, it has received 1,100 of the goal 5,000 signatures.

Newman said they hope to bring the petition to the attention of student government officials, as well as Novak.

“Ultimately, we just want this petition to represent a large group of the student sentiment towards this measure, considering so many people are outraged by this policy and feel it as deeply discriminatory,” Newman said.

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