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eating-clubs

Eating clubs line Prospect Avenue.

Photo Credit: Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian

In the wake of the University’s decision to suspend in-person classes, the Graduate Interclub Council (GICC) and the Interclub Council (ICC) have announced that all 11 eating clubs will shut down beginning this Friday. The clubs will be closed to members and remain locked at all times until April 5, which the University has been tentatively set as the last day of online classes.

“We recognize this is a major disruption for many,” GICC Chairman Hap Cooper ’82 wrote in an email obtained by The Daily Princetonian. “Unfortunately, the extraordinary nature of this global pandemic requires extraordinary steps be taken.”

The Street will also be closed to all social events starting on Thursday, March 12.

For sophomores, juniors, and senior club members without a University meal plan, the closures mean that daily meals will not be provided by the clubs. Instead, the University will allow all students on campus to eat in a dining hall for free.

“If you are not on a university meal plan, and you are forced to remain on campus because it is not safe to return home, the university will provide you with food in the dining halls free of charge during Spring Break and until Tower reopens,” Tower Club officers wrote in an email to its members on Wednesday afternoon.

It is unclear how many students will remain on campus after Spring Break, and how the dining halls plan to accommodate upperclass students, in addition to the first and second year students who stay on campus.

Given these changes, some students questioned whether refunds of any kind would be provided to assuage the cost of club dues.

“[Three] weeks of not having access to the social benefits or meals is a significant chunk of time,” one sophomore eating club member, who was granted anonymity, wrote in a message to the ‘Prince.’ “I think we should be proportionally refunded for that amount of money since we will not be getting the full social experience as sophomores …  the main selling point of joining an eating club sophomore spring.”

The GICC made no definitive statement about whether refunds will be awarded, but acknowledged that the topic merits discussion.

“During this intersession, we’re going to talk about the rebates … and come up with something that is equitable for everyone,” Cooper said. “We’ve been having Zoom calls on a daily or sometimes multiple times-per day basis as this pandemic changes our landscape.”

Though clubs will be officially closed to members, “resident officers” will be allowed to stay in their rooms, according to Cooper.

This collection of changes comes after days of discussion between the ICC, club officers, and the University regarding the appropriate response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Prior to the release of the statement, eating club officers were planning to keep clubs open, but with restrictions. Over the course of Monday and Tuesday, clubs informed members that they would be members-only over Spring Break and in the weeks before April 5, with tap nights, guest meals, and meal exchange all on hiatus. Several eating clubs also made reference to increased sanitation measures in private club communications.

In formulating the new policy, the ICC and the GICC worked together with Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun according to Cooper.  

“The GICC and the ICC are in lockstep,” said ICC President Karthik Ramesh ’21.

“I think that everyone feels that this is going to continue to change and they’re ready to make updated decisions on a regular basis so stay tuned because whatever is decided today probably morphs pretty quickly,” Cooper said. “Stay tuned.”

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