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Kosher and Halal Dining Options Could Be Coming to UCSD Soon

UC San Diego. Patch file photo.
UC San Diego. Patch file photo.
The May 14, 2014 meeting of the Associated Students at UCSD —the governing student body —unanimously passed a resolution in support of a joint project brought forward by the Union of Jewish Students and the Muslim Student Association to establish kosher and halal dining facilities on campus. 

Over the past several months, Jewish and Muslim student leaders at UC San Diego have collaborated with administrators on a joint proposal that would incorporate new kosher and halal preparation and serving areas in an existing campus dining facility. The new kosher and halal dining stations would allow students with these dietary restrictions who live on campus to purchase foods through the university's meal plan.

"Living on campus for students who keep halal or kosher diets is difficult without options available through dining plans," Muslim Student Association member Hibah Khan said. "Our plan would introduce a hot meal option for Jewish and Muslim students at UCSD which would allow more observant students to live on campus."

UC San Diego's Housing and Dining Services residential-living program requires students who live on campus to buy into a large meal plan called the "Dining Dollars" program. Students must pay into the program in order to live on campus, but observant Jewish and Muslim students often cannot spend those dining dollars in on-campus dining halls.

"This is a great opportunity for Jewish and Muslim students to keep their observances while also having a comprehensive college experience," Union of Jewish Student President Samuel Hauss said. "We hope that the university will recognize the needs of Jewish and Muslim students for new dining options and work with us to ensure that our needs are being met."

Khan and UJS Executive Vice President Zev Hurwitz presented the proposal in front of the Council Wednesday night. The collaboration between UJS and MSA has been ongoing since late last year, with both groups meeting multiple times to compose the joint plan.

"The collaboration between both of our organizations has been critical to our goal of kosher and halal options at UCSD," Hurwitz said. "We are really proud of this new partnership and we hope that it becomes a model for students at other universities with similar goals."

ASUCSD's Wednesday evening move follows unanimous endorsement by the UC San Diego Council of Provosts last month in favor of the project. The provosts, which are collectively the heads of all six academic colleges at UC San Diego, announced their support in a letter April 30.

"We encourage the campus to do all it can to see this project through, noting that it will address the needs of many of our students and do much to create good will on campus across our student population," said Steven Adler on behalf of the Council of Provosts. Adler is a professor of theatre and the provost of Earl Warren College at UC San Diego.

The proposal also has the support of Hillel of San Diego, the Anti-Defamation League, UCSD interim Vice Chancellor Student Affairs Alan Houston and numerous Jewish and Muslim student organizations on campus.

UJS and MSA at UCSD will now begin the process of meeting with the university's Housing, Dining and Hospitality department to discuss opportunities for implementation of the plan. 

"We look forward to more opportunities to work with the university and the Muslim Student Association to ensure that the needs of all observant students are being met on our campus," UJS Vice President Jonah Saidian said.

—The Union of Jewish Students at UCSD

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