Supreme Court orders Yeshiva U. to recognize LGBTQ group. Then things took a turn.

An LGBTQ student group embroiled in a legal battle with Yeshiva University said Wednesday it is temporarily withdrawing from seeking official recognition after the campus suspended all undergraduate club activities last week. The drastic move came in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling ordering Modern Orthodox Jewish University to recognize the group while the university appeals a recent New York State Supreme Court ruling against it.

in position On Wednesday, the YU Pride Alliance announced that it agreed with a NY judge’s order that the group be given the same resources as other student groups. Calling it a “painful and difficult decision”, the alliance condemned the university’s decision to suspend other club activities.

“YU is trying to keep everything holding his students hostage while he uses manipulative legal tactics in an attempt to prevent our club from being treated equally,” the statement read.

The students’ attorney, Katherine Rosenfeld, said what they are asking the university for is “so modest” and amounts to what other clubs already have: access to school facilities, rights to on-campus events, an electronic mailing list. and funding snacks and supplies, among others.

“Some of these things are really especially important for these students because people don’t know how to find each other when they’re not necessarily ‘out there’ or when they’re in the second phase of figuring out their identity,” Rosenfeld said. . “And so it’s really important to have an easy way to connect with people.”

This is not the YU we know and love.

In the statement that Chronicle, a Yeshiva University spokesperson wrote that they welcome and deeply care about all of our students, including our LGBTQ community. A representative said the stay agreed to by the student group allows the administration to resume discussions stalled by the litigation.

In response, Rosenfeld said the university’s actions speak louder than words. “Students are telling the university that they need this club to keep the campus healthy, safe and comfortable. This is one thing they tell the university they need and the university refuses to do. he said. “I think that speaks for itself.”

The lawsuit, filed in April 2021, hinges on whether Yeshiva University should be classified as an educational institution or a religious corporation. Unlike educational institutions, religious businesses are exempt from New York’s Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. According to the law, sexual orientation is a protected class.

Judge Lynn R. Kotler ruled in June that the university is not a religious corporation and ordered the institution and its president, Rabbi Ari Berman, to immediately provide the union with “full and equal accommodations, benefits, facilities and privileges afforded to all others. student groups at Yeshiva University.

Judge Kotler cited the university’s own charter, adopted in 1967, which expressly states that the university was organized “for educational purposes only.”

The university then tried to get the U.S. Supreme Court to grant an emergency stay of Kotler’s decision, which Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor initially granted on a temporary basis. But days later, the court, including Sotomayor, rejected the stay, saying the university had other options at the state level first. Four US judges dissented in favor of the university.

But if state courts offer “neither expedited review nor interim relief,” the U.S. Supreme Court can still hear the case again, the majority ruling said. Other Christian colleges are watching closely; a Council of Christian Colleges and universities, Archdiocese of New Yorkand Association of Classical Christian Schools filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the university’s request for an emergency stay.

In a dissenting opinion, Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote that if the case were to return to the U.S. Supreme Court, “Yeshiva would likely prevail.”

After the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal, the university told its students that the campus would “sustain” all club activities while administrators worked “to protect YU’s religious freedom,” continuing its appeal.

“Our plan has been to resume these activities shortly after the Jewish holidays, and since those holidays begin in just a few days, we expect to do so at that time,” the spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement. (The university did not specify which holidays that means, since many Jewish holidays fall in September and October.)

Rosenfeld said the students were dismayed by the university’s decision but did not want to involve the entire student body in their dispute. “They just don’t want the entire campus to be so affected by Yeshiva’s disappointing decision to punish everyone,” he said.

Our plan has been to resume these activities soon after the Jewish holidays.

Dissent in university undergraduate and graduate programs has grown. An open letter there are over 1,500 signatures from students, alumni and faculty. “This is not the YU we know and love,” the letter reads. “This is not YU, where we deepened our activities gasp Israelour love for every Jew, meeting other students from all Jewish backgrounds and walks of life.

In a show of support, Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Board of Overseers also released a statement calling the actions of the undergraduate department administration “extremely disturbing” and stressing that the law school will remain an independent branch. Cardoza Law School already has an LGBTQ student group called OutLaw, which was founded nearly 30 years ago.

“We have urged the leadership of Yeshiva College and continue to ask them to resolve this lawsuit by providing the YU Pride Alliance with mutual support and community as a student club,” the board said in a statement.

A separate letter A faculty member at Cardoza Law School, signed by more than 50 faculty members, expressed a similar sentiment. University lecturer Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicineand from Wurzweiler School of Social Work has also issued similar letters.

“The courts have confirmed that the university is violating the law by refusing to allow the YU Pride Alliance to meet on the same terms as other student organizations,” Cardoza’s faculty wrote. “Even if the law were otherwise, YU’s continued discrimination would be wrong and contrary to the principles that unite us as a community.”

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