Edited by: JV Staff
As calls for tolerance and diversity for different lifestyles claim prominence on college campuses and in society in general, it was reported by the Jewish Week that seven LGBTQ students from New York’s Yeshiva University have now filed a discrimination complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights over the fact that they are still facing opposition from the university in creating an undergraduate gay/straight alliance.
Yeshiva University has gained a reputation for educating modern Orthodox Jews under the banner of “Torah & Science.” The battle for acceptance of gays on campus as well as their demand to form a group rages on, despite the pitfalls.
The complaint said that YU has “refused to allow an official LGBTQ student group” over the course of many years, and has “suppressed LGBTQ-themed events,” as was reported by the Jewish Week. The paper also reported that within the complaint the student activists state that an unnamed senior vice president at the university “tried to pressure student council leaders to reject” the club’s second bid for approval in two consecutive years.
The group that the LGBTQ activists are attempting to form would be known as the YU Alliance. According to campus procedure, the decision to grant or ban a student group or club is now in the hands of the YU administration after student council presidents abstained on the motion calling for the forming of such a gay/straight alliance.
As was reported by the Jewish Week, in a statement emailed to the student body last week explaining their decision, the presidents said that “our role is to express the student voice, our role is not to determine major ideological decisions for the institution.” The decision, they said, “has larger implications outside of Yeshiva University.”
“We, as the Student Council Presidents, are supportive that all students feel welcomed and included on campus,” added Zachary Greenberg, president of the Yeshiva Student Union. “We feel that by abstaining we are helping facilitate direct communication between the club applicants and the administration to work together to determine the best solution.”
Club members decided to file the complaint with the city’s Human Rights Commission and explore legal options beyond the university.
The Jewish Week reported that the university has previously resisted an official gay representation on campus because gay sex is strictly prohibited under Orthodox Jewish law. (Jewish Week)
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