Muslim students in the ivy Yale University have complained that the campus new housing process prevents them from requesting religious accommodations, accordingly compromising their religious practices and mental health.
Previously, students were able to meet their respective chaplains to make housing requests. Such housing accommodations can include having single-gender bathrooms or living on a single-gender floor.
“Not guaranteeing religious accommodations … is either forcing students that need access to single-gendered spaces to live in anxiety-producing spaces and compromise their religious practices, or [having them] move off campus,” Huda Siddiqui ’25 told Yale Daily News.
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Under the new housing process, there is no longer a system for requesting religious-based housing accommodations.
Without single-gender bathrooms, Muslim women cannot remove their hijab, a restriction that also prevents them from participating in wudu, an ablution performed before daily prayers.
“I’m not a hijabi, but … I saw some of my friends who do wear hijab blindsided by Yale’s lack of religious housing accommodations,” Debbie Olorunisola ’25 said.
“While Old Campus has some in-suite bathrooms, many residential colleges do not. Since sophomores can’t live off-campus, one of my friends had to choose between living by herself—taking away a crucial part of the Yale experience and potentially negatively impacting her mental health—or living with her friends—and having to overdress herself as she went to the shower because her hallmates were men.”
In response to student concerns, the Yale College Council passed a proposal on Feb. 12 to standardize religious and cultural housing accommodations.
The proposal calls on the housing committee to create a form that automatically sends accommodation requests to a student’s dean and chaplain’s office, designate gender-specific bathrooms in every residential college and increase the installation of restroom signs on women-identifying floors that urge students to respect the stated boundaries.
“This policy of obfuscation has caused so much undue stress — my housing situation has been completely up in the air, to the extent where I’m not even sure who my suitemates will be or whether I will be able to live on-campus, despite wanting to stay with my residential college community and the friends I have made over the past two years,” said Ahmed, who is part of an effort by the Muslim Students’ Association to petition the current lack of guaranteed housing accommodations.
“Even now, Yale hasn’t published an official statement on religious housing accommodations. Yale students deserve clarity.”
Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut.
Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, Yale is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. It is also one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution.