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Dear Anonymous Writers

Dear Anonymous Writers,

I’ve been debating whether or not to make this point publicly for some time now, but I think it needs to be done. Although I am the Editor-in-Chief of The Observer, I have chosen to submit this response here because you, Rabbi A Dr B and Mrs C, deliberately chose to publish your article in The Commentator.

“Polishing the Jewel That Is Yeshiva University Before it is Too Late,” published in The Commentator on November 16, has received over 700 Facebook “likes” and significantly more viewers. Many aspects of this article have provoked significant thought and conversation—the omission of Stern College being one of them.

Allow me to just clarify that my purpose here is not to complain about what Stern College lacks. My purpose here is to reprint the voice of many Stern College women in addressing you.

Your fourth point states: “the YC/Stern/RIETS budget is terribly imbalanced.” This is an unfortunately true fact—but not for the reasons you say. Your main point, as I understand it, is that RIETS “is receiving a much higher percentage of the combined budget of these three institutions.” The frame of this specific argument seems petty; you want Torah studies to receive less money? I don't get it—that doesn’t seem right. Instead of bemoaning what RIETS is given, why not focus on how to fix what the other undergraduate programs lack? Why begin an almost crusade-style point against RIETS?

I digress—what I find interesting is that you do not go on to discuss the difference between what the men’s campus receives and what the women’s campus does—nor, for that matter, do you address Sy Syms School of Business at all.

Rabbi A, Dr. B, and Mrs. C: you had an opportunity to make a point about the differences in budget and possibly propose a solution. Instead, you chose to vilify the fact that more money is spent on RIETS (which, incidentally, receives a significant percentage of its funds from independent donors who specify that their donations be used for RIETS), and you overlooked the monetary oversights on the Beren campus—and the Wilf campus for that matter.

You had the opportunity to position your argument about what the other undergraduate institutions lack and not what RIETS has. Why not highlight or even critique the monetary departmental shortcoming both uptown and downtown? For that matter, why not mention that SCW has significantly fewer courses (and professors) than YC? Why not propose some sort of solution—or at least fully explore the actual budgetary issues reflected by these figures?

Which brings me to my next point. Stern College for Women has the most students of any undergraduate program at YU, yet proportionately receives the smallest budget. According to a representative from the Office of Admissions, the Beren campus has roughly 1,150 students, while the Wilf campus has 1,300. Accounting for the fact that significantly more men are enrolled in SSSB uptown than women are downtown, there are more women enrolled in SCW than there are men enrolled in YC.

If you take into account all four undergraduate institutions (yes, four—not three), Stern College, the largest of YC/Stern/Syms, incurred the largest budget cut percentage-wise.

Not only did you overlook that fact though, you also alienated the women’s population by solely publishing this article in a publication that is primarily recognized as the male newspaper of Yeshiva University. Though this oversight was most likely unintentional, the fact of the matter is that it happened. The subject matter of your entire piece—a critique of the university—is equally relevant to the men and women of Yeshiva University; it should not be more relevant to one gender over another.

At least one of you is a faculty member on Beren campus, and yet you claim deeper ties to the men’s campus over your own. To you, specifically, I ask: do the women of SCW not matter in the grand scheme of discussing ideas? Is the women’s school still secondary?

Therefore, here’s my advice to you, anonymous writers: if you want to polish the jewel that is Yeshiva University, polish it, b’simcha! As of right now, I commend your efforts. But I think that by omitting the women’s school (among other things), you became the hypocrisy you wished to expose in the university.