In an unprecedented move, Yeshiva University (YU) pauses all student club activities after the Supreme Court enforced the recent ruling that the institution must acknowledge an LGBTQ student club.
Last year, the student organization YU Pride Alliance sued the university after it wouldn’t officially recognize the student club. The basis was that the organization conflicted with the Yeshiva University’s interpretation of the Torah. The New York state courts ruled that the student organization must be recognized by the university and now the Supreme Court has reinforced that stance.
The university sent the following message to its student body: “the university will hold off on all undergraduate club activities while it immediately takes steps to follow the roadmap provided by the US Supreme Court to protect YU’s religious freedom. Warm wishes for a Shannah Tovah”.
Yeshiva University is a private Othordox Jewish university located in New York City. Boasting four campuses, undergraduate and graduate degrees, 70,000 alumni, and over 80 student clubs, the institution is designed to combine Jewish scholarship with secular academic and professional development. YU’s student clubs are governed and approved by its student government.
According to its student government constitution, one of its purposes is to “to address issues of sensitivity, diversity, and awareness in all aspects of student life”. It seems like YU Pride Alliance would also do so, as its purpose is to “to provide resources and community to LGBTQ+ undergraduate students on campus”.
Katie Rosenfeld, attorney for the YU Pride Alliance, stated the following about Yeshiva University’s decision: “rather than accept one LGBTQ peer support group on campus is a throwback to 50 years ago when the city of Jackson, Mississippi closed all public swimming pools rather than comply with court orders to desegregate”.
While all student club activities have ceased, the university president Rabbi Ari Berman released a statement that shows that this fight against YU Pride Alliance is far from over. In it he mentions that “every faith-based university in the country has the right to work with its students, including its LGBTQ students, to establish the clubs, places and spaces that fit within its faith tradition. Yeshiva University simply seeks that same right of self-determination”.