Opinion | UI fails Muslim students during Ramadan

By Safia Khan, Columnist

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan began on the evening of Wednesday, March 22, 2023 — the time that Muslims worldwide look forward to with excitement and energy. 

Ramadan is a holy month in Islam — a religion practiced by an estimated 1.9 billion people around the world — observed by Muslims with fasting and increased worship. During this month, Muslims fast every day from dawn to sunset and yes, they don’t drink water. Ramadan is a time of spiritual discipline as well as a time of celebration and joy.

Students living on campus and have a meal plan especially struggle when fasting. According to a representative from the Muslim Student Association, the University is “not budging” and only allowing those who are fasting to either opt in or out of their meal plan. 

If students choose to opt out, they will receive a refund of $150 and have no access to dining halls for an entire month. If opting in, students get to keep their meal plan as is, with the exception of taking multiple disposable containers and filling them up with food to eat later. 

This is so messed up.

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A standard college meal plan is estimated to cost around $4,500 per academic year – that’s about $375 per month. 

$150 doesn’t even scratch the surface of what the University is allowing Muslim students who opt out to reclaim. 

With these two options, the only ones for fasting Muslims with a meal plan, they are faced with the choice of either purchasing food from outside sources, which tend to be unhealthy and expensive, or keeping their meal plan and being unable to use all of their meal swipes before they expire.

These options add a burden on students struggling financially and are fasting. Whichever option a student chooses, they will ultimately lose money. $150 for a month is not enough to reimburse a student for their missed meal swipes; choosing to keep your meal plan will inevitably result in missed meals. 

Instead of opting out of your meal plan, the University should offer a prorated meal plan for a month, similar to how they do so when students are on academic breaks.

With the options currently offered to fasting students, it is clear that the University is money-hungry and unaccommodating towards religion once it interferes with how much money they can obtain.


Safia is a freshman in LAS.

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