Religious university blocks every single student club just to get rid of LGBTQ+ group. No, seriously

LGBTQ

People walk by the campus of Yeshiva University in New York City on 30 August 2022. (Getty/ Spencer Platt)

The private Orthodox Jewish Yeshiva University has blocked every single student organisation, just to get rid of an LGBTQ+ club.

In June, the New York County Supreme Court found that Yeshiva University was in violation of the city’s human rights laws by refusing to recognise the YU Pride Alliance, with the court ordering the university to grant the club “advantages, facilities, and privileges afforded to all other student groups”.

But instead, the university took the case to the Supreme Court, arguing that being ordered to recognise the club would be a violation of the constitutional right to freedom of religion.

Thankfully, the attempt to lawfully discriminate against LGBTQ+ students backfired, and the Supreme Court sided with New York judge Lynn Kolter, who said that the club’s recognition did not violate First Amendment rights because “formal recognition of a student group does not equate to [an] endorsement of that group’s message”.

Forced to give equal rights to all student groups, Yeshiva University has now suspended every single undergraduate club, just to avoid recognising the YU Pride Alliance.

According to the New York Times, the university did not say how long the suspension would last, only that it needed to plan how to “follow the road map provided by the US Supreme Court”. 

A spokesperson for Yeshiva University told the publication: “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.”

But Katherine Rosenfeld, the lawyer representing the queer students, described the move as 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,” she said.

“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.”

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