Yeshiva University suspends undergraduate clubs instead of recognizing LGBTQ group during legal battle

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Diving Brief:

  • Yeshiva University closed all undergraduate clubs last week rather than recognize an LGBTQ club, a decision coming after the US Supreme Court declined to intervene immediately in a case against the Human Rights Act. New York man to religious freedom.
  • The Supreme Court initially blocked a June trial court order directing the university, which is historically affiliated with Orthodox Judaism, to recognize the club because of New York’s human rights law. But the judges voted 5-4 on Wednesday to stop blocking the order, with the majority telling Yeshiva it could only return to the nation’s highest court after pursuing appeal options in New York.
  • Yeshiva told students she was suspending clubs as she pursued these calls, her independent student newspaper, The commentator, reports Friday. On Monday, a university spokesperson confirmed that Yeshiva had submitted new briefs to the court and said the institution hopes to reinstate the clubs soon.

Overview of the dive:

Yeshiva suspended undergraduate clubs after a high-profile legal tussle between the university of 5,500 students and several of its current and former students who want it to recognize a Yeshiva Pride Alliance.

A New York court ordered Yeshiva to recognize the club in June, finding in part that the institution does not count as a religious society under state law and recognizing a group is not the same thing than approve it. Yeshiva appealed in the state court system, but turned to the Supreme Court because its fall club application process was due to end on September 12.

The university argued he would suffer irreparable harm from a “government-imposed establishment of a Yeshiva Pride Alliance club.”

Those filing the lawsuit responded that New York City human rights law requires their group to enjoy the “same facilities and benefits” as 87 other Yeshiva-recognized student groups. They also argued the university jumped out of order by involving the Supreme Court before exhausting its legal options in New York.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor blocked the New York court order for a few days. After all the judges considered the matter, a narrow majority decided not to continue blocking the trial court’s order. Majority wrote that the university could correct the procedural issues in his appeal and seek a speedy review of his case in New York.

After the Supreme Court dropped the case, Yeshiva President Rabbi Ari Berman issued a statement Thursday saying that every faith-based university in the United States has the right to establish clubs and spaces that comply with its religious traditions. Yeshiva sought that same right, Berman said.

“The Supreme Court has given us the road map to find a speedy remedy and we will follow its instructions,” Berman said. “At the same time, as our commitment and love for our LGBTQ students is unwavering, we continue to reach out in the invitation to work together to create a more inclusive campus life consistent with our Torah values.”

Yeshiva told students it was suspending undergraduate clubs in an email from a student activities account, the Student Newspaper reported. The email said that in light of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which arrives next week, the university “will suspend all undergraduate club activities while taking immediate action to follow the route provided by the United States Supreme Court to protect YU’s religious freedom. .”

Lawyers for the university filed briefs for the appeals on Friday, a spokesperson said in a statement.

“We anticipate a quick conclusion in court and the start of clubs soon,” the spokesperson said in an email Monday.