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Eating clubs will remain closed for spring semester

The University will provide all 11 clubs with “budgetary support” in the spring semester, according to an announcement.

<p>Eating clubs line Prospect Avenue.</p>
<h6>Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian</h6>

Eating clubs line Prospect Avenue.

Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian

All 11 of Princeton’s eating clubs will remain closed for the spring semester, according to a Tuesday afternoon announcement from the University.

"The Eating Clubs have agreed to remain closed for the spring semester to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection among students, faculty, University administration/staff and Club employees,” wrote Graduate Inter-Club Council (ICC) president Hap Cooper ’82 and Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun.

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Cooper and Calhoun indicated that the University will provide "budgetary support" to the clubs in the spring "to help offset the financial impact of the closure" — similar to the financial support clubs received this fall. “We have forged a strong and cooperative working relationship and look forward to restoring full dining and social activities on the Street once it is safe to do so,” they added.

News of the policy came in an email message to members of Quadrangle Club, who received word from Quad president Krystal Delnoce ’22 earlier in the afternoon.

“I have the sad responsibility to deliver more heavy news to you that Quad and all of the eating clubs are going dark for the Spring,” Delnoce wrote in the email obtained by The Daily Princetonian. “No dining, no socially distant social events, and no backyard hammocks. 

“I know this saddens many of you as the University welcomes back all undergraduates,” she added.

A message sent from Cloister Inn president Hans Imhof ’21 to Cloister members and obtained by the ‘Prince’ stated that the eating club closure will be discussed at tonight’s town hall for students.

“Tonight during the town hall the University is going to announce that eating clubs will be closed during the spring,” Imhof wrote. “I wanted to let you all know sooner.”

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Cap & Gown Club and ICC president Karthik Ramesh ’21 told the ‘Prince’ that he will be sending a message regarding the decision to Cap members.

Delnoce noted in her message to members that Quad will not charge its members any dues for the spring semester and that staff members would be “tak[en] care of,” as in the fall semester, with financial assistance from the University.

“The University and Quad are focused on the mission of keeping students and our members safe,” Delnoce wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’ “The operations of eating clubs pose to the University an unrestricted and unforeseen factor in their ability to safely welcome all undergraduates.”

Because of this, Delnoce explained, Quad and the University have “accepted a partnership” in which the club can “continue to support our staff through these times and promote the safety of our members.”

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Prospect Avenue has been shut down since last March, when the eating clubs closed their doors — at first, temporarily, but eventually indefinitely. Since then, they have operated on a solely virtual basis, with some holding frequent social programming and others going dark.

Many held out hope for a reopening of the eating clubs come spring. However, with last week’s announcement that students of all class years may return to campus in the spring semester, and that all who do must sign up for a University meal plan, a return to normalcy for the eating clubs seemed unlikely.

Bicker and Street Week, which are planned to take place from Jan. 31 to Feb. 13, 2021, will still take place, and Delnoce noted in her email that Quad is still looking forward to welcoming new sophomore members. 

However, it will likely be difficult for club members to undergo another virtual semester.

“Cloister has always been a special place for me and I’m sad we won’t be able to spend our last spring there together,” Imhof wrote. “Again, I’m really sorry about the bad news and I truly wish things had gone differently.”

This story is breaking and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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