Divinity School Considers Charging Rent to Grounds of Being

The Dean said they’re thinking about “how to be good stewards of the budget of the [Div] School.”


Grounds of Being

By Spencer Dembner

The Divinity School is considering charging rent to Grounds of Being, its student-run coffee shop.  

Located in the basement of Swift Hall, Grounds is a popular campus spot, run through the Divinity Students Association (DSA). Its profits are directed to initiatives for students in the Divinity School. 

In a November 17 e-mail to Divinity School students, DSA and Grounds management invited students to an emergency DSA session on November 20 to discuss the issue. 

“Given the profound impacts these decisions may have on students, we call on all students to be present at this discussion,” the email said. “The urgent nature of this plenary session comes as a result of a meeting on Thursday, November 16 with the Divinity School Administration.” 

Grounds of Being confirmed that rent was under discussion, but declined to comment further citing ongoing negotiations. 

“We can confirm that the Divinity School is considering charging us rent,” Grounds of Being said via Facebook. “However, due to our precarious situation in rental negotiations, we will not be commenting further than that.” 

Dean of the Divinity School Laurie Zoloth declined to comment on the specifics of the negotiations. 

“We are having a thoughtful, reflective and wide-ranging conversation about how to make the coffee shop more inclusive and more responsible to our campus and neighborhood community and also about how to be good stewards of the budget of the School,” Zoloth said in an email. “We want to have this conversation privately, within our community, however, and not conduct it in the newspaper.” 

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