Pending Return to SCOTUS, Yeshiva University Freezes All Student Group Activities Rather Than Recognize LGBT Alliance
“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.”
We last reported on the lawsuit by the Yeshiva University “Pride Alliance” seeking official recognition against the religious convictions of the university.
The Supreme Court denied a stay on procedural grounds, with an open invitation by the court to come back once state remedies were exhausted, Yeshiva University Must Recognize LGBTQ Student Group For Now, After SCOTUS Vacates Stay As Premature:
“If applicants seek and receive neither expedited review nor interim relief from the New York courts, they may return to this Court.”
The four dissenting Justices, in an opinion by Alito, would have granted the stay now, and predicted the university would win on the merits when it returned:
… the majority—for no good reason—sends the University back to the state courts. The upshot is that Yeshiva is almost certain to be compelled for at least some period of time (and perhaps for a lengthy spell) to instruct its students in accordance with what it regards as an incorrect interpretation of Torah and Jewish law….
At least four of us are likely to vote to grant certiorari if Yeshiva’s First Amendment arguments are rejected on appeal, and Yeshiva would likely win if its case came before us ….
Unless a stay is granted, Yeshiva will be required to recognize the Alliance as an official student group and to grant it all the privileges extended to other such groups. As the Alliance has contended, this would force Yeshiva to make a “statement” in support of an interpretation of Torah with which the University disagrees. The loss of First Amendment rights for even a short period constitutes irreparable harm ….
Faced with this irreparable harm of state court-compelled speech, Yeshiva has announced it is freezing all student group activity. The student newspaper reports:
Yeshiva University will temporarily freeze all undergraduate club activities until it finalizes its legal strategy after its request for a stay on an order to recognize a campus LGBTQ+ club was denied by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Sources close to the administration told The Commentator that university officials are considering dissolving all clubs and student organizations to avoid recognizing the YU Pride Alliance as an official campus club. The future of student-run activities and student councils is unknown.
“Considering the upcoming Chagim,” a university email said, “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.”
Reuters confirmed the reporting:
Yeshiva University, ordered by a judge to formally recognize an LGBT student group even as the Jewish school in New York City argues that doing so would violate its religious values, on Friday announced that it has halted the activities of all its undergraduate student clubs as it plans its next steps….
Citing upcoming Jewish holidays, Yeshiva said in an email to students that “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.”
Katie Rosenfeld, a lawyer for Y.U. Pride Alliance, said in a statement she is confident that “students will see through this shameful tactic and stand together in community.”
Rosenfeld called the university’s move to cancel all student club activities rather than accept one LGBT 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.”
This screenshot of the university email was posted on Twitter:
Yeshiva is planning a return to SCOTUS:
When asked for comment, Y.U. referred the New York Jewish Week to a press statement made by President Ari Berman on Sept. 14, in reference to the Supreme Court’s latest ruling.
“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,” Berman wrote.
“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,” he added.
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