A Supreme Court setback prompted drastic action at this religious school
Amid a legal battle over a proposed LGBTQ rights club, Yeshiva University has suspended all undergraduate club activities
Yeshiva University in New York City temporarily suspended all undergraduate club activities on Friday, two days after facing a setback in an ongoing legal battle over a proposed LGBTQ rights club, according to The New York Times.
School officials said in an email to students that the pause was necessary in order to give them time to assess their next move, the article noted.
“The university did not say for how long the suspension would last or whether it would be revisited,” The New York Times reported.
The shutdown of club activities will allow Yeshiva to delay granting formal recognition to the YU Pride Alliance, which is at the center of the ongoing case.
Such a delay had not appeared to be an option on Wednesday, when the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to allow a lower court ruling requiring immediate recognition of the club to stand pending additional legal wrangling.
“Applicants Yeshiva University and its president seek emergency relief from a non-final order of the New York trial court requiring the University to treat an LGBTQ student group similarly to other student groups in its student club recognition process. The application is denied because it appears that applicants have at least two further avenues for expedited or interim state court relief,” justices in the majority wrote.
The Supreme Court has not yet weighed in on the merits of the overall case, which centers on the question of whether Yeshiva’s religious freedom rights outweigh New York City’s nondiscrimination rules, as the Deseret News previously reported.
An attorney for the group of students fighting for recognition for YU Pride Alliance criticized school officials’ decision to suspend club activities in an email to The Washington Post.
“The Pride Alliance seeks a safe space on campus, nothing more,” said Katie Rosenfeld. “By shutting down all club activities, the YU administration attempts to divide the student body, and pit students against their LGBT peers. We are confident that YU students will see through this shameful tactic and stand together in community.”
Yeshiva’s leaders, meanwhile, have said that their concerns about the proposed LGBTQ rights club stem from deeply held religious beliefs, not a desire to isolate or otherwise harm members of the LGBTQ community.
“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,” said Yeshiva’s president, Rabbi Ari Berman, in a Sept. 15 statement.
He added, “The Supreme Court has laid out the roadmap for us to find expedited relief and we will follow their instructions. At the same time, as our commitment to and love for our LGBTQ students are unshakeable, we continue to extend our hand in invitation to work together to create a more inclusive campus life consistent with our Torah values.”