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An Open Letter to President Richard M. Joel

Dear President Joel,

Our university now finds itself at a financial tipping point. As students—and soon-to-be alumni—who care deeply about the academic and financial health of Yeshiva University, we are deeply concerned about the recently announced budget cuts.

In your recent letter to alumni and staff members announcing the cuts, you noted, “This last decade has seen the transformation of our academic enterprise, Torah learning environment, student and career services, athletics, infrastructure, and more.”

While we recognize the need for infrastructure beyond the classroom, we stress that the strength of a Yeshiva University education lies inside the classroom and the laboratory. We enjoy student services, but without a strong academic center, Yeshiva University fails to live up to its mission.

As students, we know that in order to have the best university, we need the best faculty. Four years ago, you asked the university to do more with less, to expect the academic faculty to make up the difference by relying upon their commitment to their research and to us. They continue to prove their dedication to us. They took on greater teaching commitments and unveiled a new curriculum.

Given the impending cuts, we believe that to maintain the academic quality of Yeshiva, you must re-center spending priorities. Funding for academics and support for research in both the sciences and the humanities must continue to be a priority while Yeshiva begins to formulate a budget-cutting strategy. We strongly support continuing the searches that have started for tenure-track faculty and replacement professors. We emphatically encourage continued support for the arts. We urge you to continue funding merit-based scholarships for our most qualified and eager students. Most importantly, we petition you to preserve already thin course offerings.

“Together,” you wrote in your letter, “we will emerge a renewed Yeshiva University that is global in its scope, strong at its core and looking towards the future.” We understand that there will be sacrifices down the road, but let us not sacrifice the core of this university: a world-class education.

Please don’t cut where it counts.


The Editorial Board of The Commentator