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NYC Comptroller to Yeshiva University: Recognize LGBTQ Club or Risk Public Funding

NYC Comptroller to Yeshiva University: Recognize LGBTQ Club or Risk Public Funding

Comptroller warns: “I must urge your institution to change course and offer a secure environment for your LGBTQ+ students and staff to create a supportive space to rightfully express their full selves.”

Yeshiva University (YU) risks losing public funding if it won’t officially recognize the LGBTQ club “YU Pride Alliance,” warned New York City Comptroller Brad Lander in a letter sent Monday to the school’s president, Rabbi Ari Berman.

We’ve covered the ongoing legal battle between the Orthodox Jewish university and the student Pride Alliance here:

The conflict heated up in June of last year, when the New York County Supreme Court (in New York, the trial court) ordered YU to recognize an official “Pride Alliance” student club, against its religious convictions.

Last December, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s ruling. YU’s appeal from that decision to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, is currently pending.

As we reported here, the University intends to take its appeal to the United States Supreme Court, if necessary.

Meanwhile, as YU wages one battle in the courts, it faces another one in the public arena: politicians are putting the school on notice that it can either approve the student club—or pay the price.

This week’s letter from City Comptroller Lander is the latest to come from an elected official urging the school to reconsider its position. Lander warns that his office is closely watching YU for refusing to officially recognize the LGBTQ club:

Your students are alleging that your current practices are discriminatory and in violation of the New York City’s Human Rights Law. I must urge your institution to change course and offer a secure environment for your LGBTQ+ students and staff to create a supportive space to rightfully express their full selves.

The Jewish school’s refusal to comply could come at a cost. The City Comptroller threatens severe financial consequences if YU won’t give its seal of approval to the Pride Alliance club:

All recipients of public funding from the City must attest that they are in compliance with City laws and statutes, including the New York City Human Rights Law. Our records show that Yeshiva University has received some $8.8 million in City funding since 2010. The University’s discriminatory actions may put future funding and associated services at risk.

According to The YU Commentator, Yeshiva University spokesperson Hanan Eisenman disputed Lander’s allegations: “We have already established a path forward which provides loving and supportive spaces for our LGBTQ students,” he said. “We kindly ask well-meaning politicians to please learn the facts before attacking our students’ Jewish education.”

Those politicians should also look at the record. Lander’s charge that YU has somehow failed to “offer a secure environment” and “create a supportive space” for LGBTQ students “to rightfully express their full selves” is at odds with the appellate court’s ruling last December. As we reported here, the court seized on YU’s embrace of the LGBTQ community—even amid the ongoing strife—to justify rejecting the school’s First Amendment arguments:

There is no violation of Yeshiva’s associational rights where plaintiff Pride Alliance members are already enrolled students, Yeshiva already engaged in many discussions with the Pride Alliance about sexual orientation and gender identity issues, Yeshiva continued to express the desire to foster diversity and inclusion in association with Pride Alliance members when denying official recognition, and Yeshiva even explained several actions it was undertaking to bring about “greater awareness and acceptance” and “create a space where students, faculty and Roshei Yeshiva to continue this conversation” about sexual orientation and gender identity. [emphasis added]

The political pressure on YU to “change course” has been mounting. In the months leading up to Lander’s warning to the school, several other elected state officials also sent letters urging the Jewish institution to recognize the Pride Alliance, The Commentator reports:

Last month, three state senators called on Berman to recognize the group and requested that the university submit an accounting of $230 million of state funding the institution received.

YU never submitted an accounting of its use of the funding, the office of State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, one of the senators who signed the letter, told The Commentator Tuesday. The senators had requested an accounting by Feb. 10, 30 days from the date of their letter.

Six New York State congressional members sent a similar letter in September.

Notwithstanding the piling on by Lander and other politicians, according to the parties’ own agreement, YU isn’t obligated to officially recognize the Pride club until the appeals process plays out. This past September, they agreed to a stay of the trial court order that “will remain will remain in effect until all appeals, including appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, are decided.”

That appeal would take YU to the High Court for the second time. In September of last year, the Court ruled on the school’s emergency request to block the state court’s order forcing it to recognize the club. It then sent the University back to state court to finish out its appeals.

And if and when the parties do finally return to the U.S. Supreme Court, the future looks bright for YU: Last summer, the four dissenting justices predicted success: They are “likely to vote to grant certiorari,” and “Yeshiva would likely win if its case came before us.”


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If you take their money, you follow their rules.

    n.n in reply to txvet2. | March 3, 2023 at 9:14 am

    Isn’t the democratic/dictatorial duality a grand representation of human progress?

    n.n in reply to txvet2. | March 3, 2023 at 9:24 am

    “Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

    We live in interesting times.

    novaculus in reply to txvet2. | March 3, 2023 at 9:24 am

    or, tell them to stick their money where the sun don’t shine

    ‘Their’ money? Correction: Our tax dollars. Religious liberty is supposed to be guaranteed – not threatened.

    BierceAmbrose in reply to txvet2. | March 3, 2023 at 4:38 pm

    When they insist on taking your money, you live by their rules to get it back and survive.

    Education, for example: you can’t afford to send your kid to a school that works once they extract the property taxed for owning your own home.

    diver64 in reply to txvet2. | March 3, 2023 at 4:54 pm

    Exactly. Take the Governments money and you have to live by their rules. It’s what the Dem excel at. Maybe the Jewish Bankers, Hollywood Agents or whoever funded those Jewish Space Lasers can kick in a few bucks /sarc

Religion (i.e. behavioral protocol).

Transgender spectrum disorder.

Transgender conversion therapy (e.g. grooming) for children, and adults in the general population, and criminalized dissent,

Pride without lions, lionesses, and cubs playing in gay parade.

Celebrated under an albinophobic, black and brown excluded, banner and symbols.

That said, once you elect to perform human rites for social, redistributive, clinical, political, criminal, and fair weather progress, you have passed the point of no return.

sexual orientation and gender identity

Sex is binary. Gender is sex-correlated attributes (e.g. sexual orientation). Trans- refers to a state or process of divergence from normal. Normalize, tolerate, or reject. They need to lose their Pro-Choice ethical religion.

    diver64 in reply to n.n. | March 3, 2023 at 4:56 pm

    Bigot! Why are you bringing English and actual Da Science into this? I can identify as whatever I want and you have to acknowledge, support and affirm it or the entire weight of the Twitter Mob and Woke Government will come down on you.

Which is why you don’t take gov’t funds.
And which is why the gov’t connives and wheedles and “incentivizes” you taking their money.

So YU is to yield to the State or else. I wonder if this has ever happened before?

    ahad haamoratsim in reply to Whitewall. | March 5, 2023 at 8:01 am

    It happened to the Volozhiner Yeshiva, for one. first of the modern-day yeshivos.

    “ Yeshivas Etz Ḥayyim (Hebrew: ישיבת עץ חיים), commonly called the Volozhin Yeshiva (Yiddish: וואלאזשינער ישיבה, romanized: Volozhiner Yeshiva), was a prestigious Lithuanian yeshiva located in the town of Volozhin, Russian Empire (now Valozhyn, Belarus). It was founded around 1803 by Rabbi Ḥayyim Volozhiner, a student of the famed Vilna Gaon,[1] and trained several generations of scholars, rabbis, and leaders. It is considered the first modern yeshiva, and served as a model for later Misnagedic educational institutions.[3]”-Wikipedia

    The yeshiva closed rather than give in to demands by Tsarist Russia to replace religious studies with secular studies intended to assimilate the students.

chrisboltssr | March 3, 2023 at 9:29 am

Then don’t take the public funding.

This should be a lesson even to school choice advocates: When you take the government’s money you are forced to play by its rules. The only way to be free from government stink is to get government out of schools entirely.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to chrisboltssr. | March 3, 2023 at 9:36 am

    A lot of people want money-follows-the-student public school funding. On its face, that is a great idea. But! Once it takes hold, the do-gooders and the social justice warriors will attach more strings than a technician in a piano factory. That high-academics charter school will be compelled to take delinquents and the “challenged”.

    Ironclaw in reply to chrisboltssr. | March 3, 2023 at 3:05 pm

    The big problem there is that they must fund the public schools regardless. Imagine having your money follow your choice, and not having to fund the one that you’d find not worth paying for.

E Howard Hunt | March 3, 2023 at 9:52 am

Throughout history men and women have been tortured to death for their religion. This will be a test of faith for the school. Just how devout are they? Losing funding is as nothing compared to being burned at the stake or being drawn and quartered. The farcically alphabet-nominated students’ expression of their full selves is antithetical to the university’s reason for being and is the very thing that the school must prohibit at all cost. Those arguing otherwise and attending are saboteurs.

2smartforlibs | March 3, 2023 at 10:14 am

Too bad taxpayers can’t tell if these bureaucrats represent my values of risk my tax dollars.

texansamurai | March 3, 2023 at 11:04 am

Too bad taxpayers can’t tell if these bureaucrats represent my values of risk my tax dollars.

indeed–this university is a religion-based institution, founded on religious principles stretching back over millenia–the university holds itself out as such, publicly and openly–their faith and beliefs permeate virtually every aspect of their existence/operations–their beliefs are known and evident to the world

lgbtqurst…. is a lifestyle only, a lifestyle choice

freedom of worship/religion however is guaranteed and protected by our constitution and not to be relinquished to accomodate some outlier group of humans’ feelings

in a sane world, the university and their fellow countrymen (us) should tell this petty bureaucrat and the lgbtqrs… whiners to either choose another school or just piss off

Steven Brizel | March 3, 2023 at 12:10 pm

lander prior to becoming Comptroller was a prominent LGBT activist

Steven Brizel | March 3, 2023 at 12:13 pm

YU’s case will be heard by SCOTUS once YU has exhausted all of the possible routes of appeal in the woke NY courts. I am optimistic that the conservative majority at SCOTUS will be reverse the rulings of the NY courts which focused solely on the wording of YU’s charter as opposed to the overwhelming evidence of the religious facts on the ground that govern undergraduate life at YU’s campuses

Whenever the government provides tax money to any group (especially schools and colleges), they gain control over that group. The only way to avoid government control is to decline to take the money. (eg Hillsdale College)

LGBQXYZ is the new law of the land from the Marxists

Suggestion for Yeshiva response: How do you say, “Go pound sand” in Yiddish and Hebrew?

    ahad haamoratsim in reply to MarkJ. | March 5, 2023 at 8:09 am

    Ver geharget in Yiddish (drop dead), or use a more colorful alternative, such as the one inviting the person to descend into the ocean to relieve himself.

    In Hebrew, the all purpose lech l’Azazel, best translated as “Go to the devil.”

So wait, now the problem is that YU was nice to the lgbtq+ students? And, being nice puts them on the hook to officially change traditional Jewish religious teaching to comply with the state’s new and improved definition of everything.

Yet, somehow, I imagine not being nice would be worse.

    n.n in reply to jolanthe. | March 3, 2023 at 6:07 pm

    It happened to the Mormons who practiced tolerance of trans/homosexuals and couplets, why not the Jews?

      ahad haamoratsim in reply to n.n. | March 5, 2023 at 8:11 am

      No one should be asked to tolerate couplets, or any other stanza less than a quatrain.

George_Kaplan | March 4, 2023 at 9:59 pm

If YU refusing to permit an LGTP club on campus is grounds for NY to allege a failure to “offer a secure environment” and “create a supportive space” for particular students “to rightfully express their full selves” then it logically follows that a failure to offer conservative or Christian clubs on campuses is grounds for NY to allege failure and deny funds.

Does anyone really think NYC would consider discrimination against Christians or Conservatives to be against NYC’s Human Rights Law and prosecute is so?