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Food Policy Opinion Video

NYU’s Quarantine Meal Debacle Is A Wake-Up Call For Colleges Everywhere

As students have been returning to college to start the new school year, some have had to quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At New York University, students that quarantined in the dorms got meals, but their quality was so poor that videos of them went viral all over TikTok.

@benbenfuntime

I can’t make this up ##nyu ##vegan ##quarantine ##fyp

♬ Kouen – Lo-Fi Beats

For the first few days, the NYU quarantine meals program was a mess. Vegans and vegetarians received animal and dairy products, some students had missing meals, others didn’t get them delivered until late in the day… it was chaotic, to say the least.

@cheezitbabey

we literally had to drink our own pee last night ##NYU ##nyumeal ##nyutok ##quarantine ##college ##helpus ##fyp ##survivaltok

♬ original sound – cheezitbabey

After making it onto the news for their low-quality meals, NYU apologized, and pledged to do better. For the most part, they’ve lived up to that, as they’ve added more employees to help prepare and send out meals, and even sent out cases of water and snack boxes to help students get adequate nutrition.

@rico_da_fool

Chicken caesar salad but the chicken caesar salad is silent😌😌😌##nyutiktok ##nyu ##fyp ##expensive ##flex

♬ original sound – drydoodooflakes

It didn’t resolve all of the issues, however, so NYU eventually gave students $30 of delivery credit per day as a way to get dinner for the remainder of the quarantine period. They continued to serve breakfast and lunch throughout that time frame.

Considering that NYU students pay over $38,000 per semester for tuition, housing, and other expenses, the quality of the meals they were getting is shocking. It’s also bringing the value of expensive college fees into question, especially during a pandemic.

If expensive schools are serving low-quality meals, limited access to amenities paid for through tuition costs, and transitioning to online learning, then what are students really paying for? A place to stay to take online classes?

The cost of an online course is about $1,200-$1,300, and monthly, one would spent about $350 in food and $1,000 in rent per person in a 2-bedroom apartment. This means that one could go take 4 online classes at home, in a semester-long timeline, and pay under $10,000 to do so.

It’s understandable that the pandemic has changed how everything operates, including college. Given how much money students are paying schools, however, NYU should serve as a case study of what not to do to ensure student nutrition during a pandemic.

To learn more about the full debacle, check out the entire Foodbeast video on the NYU quarantine meals at the top of this story.

By Constantine Spyrou

Constantine's life revolves around eating, studying, and talking about food. He's obsessed with eggs, gyros, and the future of food.