- Yeshiva University said it would “hold off” on all student club activity after being ordered to accept an LGBTQ group.
- Representatives for YU Pride Alliance said the move was akin to efforts by southern states to resist desegregation.
- Current and former students have penned a letter to YU leadership calling on the school to reconsider.
New York’s Yeshiva University opted to cancel all student club activity after the US Supreme Court ordered the school to recognize an LGBTQ club for the time being.
The university wrote in an email to students on Friday that it would “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.”
The decision comes after a state court ordered the school to recognize the student group immediately, CBS News reported. The Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote lifted a temporary hold placed on a court order requiring the university to recognize the group, YU Pride Alliance, according to CBS.
The majority – which included Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, along with the three liberal justices – wrote that the school may return to the state court to make a case for an expedited review or temporary relief. If the state court refuses, Yeshiva can return to the high court, the majority wrote, per The New York Times.
Representatives for YU Pride Alliance said in a statement that the university’s decision to cancel all clubs instead of accepting theirs 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.”
“The Pride Alliance seeks a safe space on campus, nothing more. 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,” the statement shared on Twitter read.
Rabbi Ari Berman, the president of the university, said in a statement following the ruling that the university intends to follow the Supreme Court’s suggestions and return to the state court, CBS reported.
“Every faith-based university in the country has the right to work with its students, including its L.G.B.T.Q. students, to establish the clubs, places and spaces that fit within its faith tradition,” Berman said in the statement, per the Times. “Yeshiva University simply seeks that same right of self-determination.”
Meanwhile, an open letter to university leaders in support of Pride Alliance gained hundreds of signatures from current and former students.
“As Jews, we were distressed to see Torah values deployed to deny fellow Jews safety and support within our community. LGBTQ+ Jews are our family members, friends, neighbors, rabbis, teachers, and students. Some of us are LGBTQ+ Jews ourselves. And all of us are saddened and disheartened by the positions our Yeshiva University has recently taken,” the letter reads.