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All chicken served in Schott Dining Hall is officially halal, progress made in Inn Between

Parkhust Dining
Schott Dining Hall makes great strides towards inclusivity through offering halal chicken with additional progress expected for the Inn Between in the future.

When students are searching for their next meal on campus, many may not pay attention to the dietary markers at each station in the Schott Dining Hall. For some of their peers, these signs make all the difference. This is not only true for those with specific food allergies, but also those whose faith calls for a specific diet, both of which can be difficult to navigate at times. Yet, practicing Muslims can celebrate a huge victory in this realm; after continuous effort, the Schott Dining Hall announced on Feb. 19 via Instagram post that all chicken served in The Caf “is now certified halal.”

Jason Brust, the general manager of Parkhurst Dining for JCU, is extremely proud of this change, saying that the dining hall’s “purveyor was able to have all fresh chicken from [their] producer Halal Certified.”

“We know it has taken a while to get this rolling, but we wanted to make sure that it wasn’t a scenario where we could only have it on one station or run out at times,” Brust told The Carroll News.

According to Dr. Zeki Saritoprak, a professor of Islamic Studies at John Carroll, when food is halal, it is permissible for Muslims to eat. This means that animals are “raised and slaughtered according to the principles of Islamic law.” He also established that, for non-Muslim students, halal meat is also beneficial as it signals that the provisions were born and bred through sustainable methods and that the animal was killed in a humane way.

Gia Hamed ‘25, the director of DEI for John Carroll’s Student Government, elaborated that the rules for what makes food halal are in the Holy Quran and they are strict guidelines as to the raising and killing of chicken for them to fall into this category.

The first thing is that the chicken must be slaughtered in accordance with Islamic guidelines, known as ‘Zabiha’ or ‘Dhabiha,’” she continued. “This involves swiftly cutting the ‘throat, windpipe and blood vessels in the neck while reciting a blessing (Bismillah) and invoking the name of Allah.’ The chicken must be healthy and alive at the time of slaughter, with no defects or diseases that render it unfit for consumption. The blood must be drained completely from the body of the chicken, as blood is considered non-halal in Islamic dietary laws.”

For both Hamed and Saritoprak, the inclusion of halal chicken on the dining hall’s menu is a big step towards the inclusivity of Muslim students on campus. Hamed has personally watched this journey unfold over the course of the last several years.

“I’m glad that the university is starting to cater to the Muslim community by taking our dietary restrictions into account,” she told The Carroll News. “We would like to thank everyone who has been involved in making this possible, from the Head Chef, to Parkhurst, to the administration.”

“Having halal-certified meat available for Muslims in the dining hall is important, as many students may not have access to meat otherwise,” Saritoprak echoed. “While there are Muslim vegetarians, halal meat is an important part of most Muslims’ diets and something all Muslims will appreciate.”

Students will still need to pay attention to signage at the various food stations around The Caf as, according to Brust, there may be a few times when a specialty cut of chicken is served that is not certified halal. However, he affirmed that all stations dishing out halal options will be marked with the official dietary identifier.

Currently, efforts are underway to provide halal options at the Inn Between through the likes of Choolah. It is unknown if halal meat will be offered at Cinco Cantina or The Blue Streak Grille at this time.

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About the Contributor
Laken Kincaid
Laken Kincaid, Editor-in-Chief
Laken Kincaid is the Editor-in-Chief for The Carroll News from Beckley, West Virginia. They are a senior at John Carroll University who is double majoring in political science and communications (digital media) and minoring in leadership development. Laken has written for The Carroll News since the start of their freshman year and has previously served as a staff reporter, campus section editor and managing editor of the paper. They have received 18 Best of SNO awards, a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for Region 4 and two honorable mentions from the College Media Association. They have also been recognized by universities like Georgetown for their investigative reports. Additionally, they also write political satire for The Hilltop Show and feature stories on global poverty for The Borgen Project. In addition to their involvement with The Carroll News, Laken is involved with the Kappa Delta sorority, the speech and debate team, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, the Improv club and other organizations. They also serve as the news director for WJCU 88.7, John Carroll's own radio station, and as the president for John Carroll's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.  Laken also started their own national nonprofit organization known as Art with the Elderly which they have won the President's Volunteer Service Award and the Humanity Rising Award for. When not writing, Laken can be found doing graphic design for their internship with Union Home Mortgage or working as a resident assistant and peer learning facilitator on campus. Laken also enjoys skiing and watching true crime documentaries. In the future, Laken hopes to become a political journalist for a national news organization or to be a campaign commercial editor for politicians. To contact Laken, email them at [email protected].

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