Commons dining at Yale dropped to reduce costs

August 04, 1991|By New York Times News Service *

Yale University has announced that dinner will no longer be served in Commons, the cavernous, white-columned building that has been a gathering place for freshmen since the 1930s.

Citing a need to cut the budget by more than $1 million, the university's dining hall director, Alan R. Kenney, informed Yale students of the decision in a letter dated July 26.

Commons, officially known as the University Dining Hall, is central to the social life of freshmen. Freshmen dinners in Commons have been most students' main opportunity to meet classmates.

For their first year on campus, students live in freshman dormitories and are affiliates of the residential colleges. After freshman year, undergraduates are divided among 12 residential colleges, each with its own dining hall, courtyard and recreational areas.

Gaddis Smith, a professor of history and member of the Yale class of 1954, called the dinners in Commons "a bonding experience for the freshmen class."

Beginning in September, freshmen will eat dinners in the residential college dining halls.

Many upperclassmen also eat in Commons to socialize with people from other residential colleges, or to eat with large groups of people, like sports teams and singing groups.

Minority and gay students often congregate in Commons.

Nikki Montgomery, '92, explaining why she enjoyed dinner at Commons, said, "It is one of the few times on a daily basis that you get a lot of black people sitting down together to really talk."

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