Overall, I believe that Case Western Reserve University has done a great job in addressing issues that arise on campus and implementing effective policies for improvements to be made. That being said, I am disappointed that Bon Appėtit, the exclusive catering company for CWRU, does not offer Kosher or Halal catering options for events.
The reason I especially find this alarming and in need of attention is the fact that the company does offer students of different faiths meal options for their dietary restrictions. Indeed, Bon Appėtit accommodates Jewish and Muslim students with a Kosher or Halal meal plan, for which they can have their needs met. However, when it comes to catering, the option is lost.
There are few ways toward a solution for this concern. The first I believe is obvious: Bon Appėtit can consult with members of the Jewish and Muslim communities both on and off-campus, and offer Kosher and Halal catering menus. If they can do so for CWRU students in the dining halls, why can’t they for other important functions?
Another solution which is already in place on a case-by-case basis, is to allow a waiver or exemption for student organizations to hold events not catered by Bon Appėtit. It is important to point out that this policy is in place, but is subject to solely Bon Appėtit’s discretion. I think it would be more appropriate to set up an online system where both CWRU staff and Bon Appėtit can approve these exemptions together, with representatives from different departments, faiths, etc.
The reason this is of concern especially to me personally is that I am now serving on a unofficial student-run council dedicated to interfaith collaboration and initiatives. We are working hard to hold an Interfaith Week on the week of April 11 to April 16. Yet, we were left confused and unsure of whether or not we’d be able to get around the mandate that all functions have catering via Bon Appėtit on campus. We were exempted, but I feel there is an easier, seamless process to all of this.
Let’s make interfaith programming be the next part of CWRU’s agenda for respecting and embracing diversity and inclusion.
Josh Lehrer is a fourth-year student.