Letter to the Editor: Kira Paley
As the author of the article mentioned in “A Modest Proposal to Ban Women from Wilf Campus” I would like to briefly respond to this piece in order to clarify my position and argument.
First, I encourage readers to read my original article, “Why Stern Students Shouldn’t Have Access to the Uptown Pool,” and take it seriously despite the “Modest Proposal” author’s attempt to minimize the issue with satire. I also encourage readers to read a piece I wrote last year, “Working Within the System,” in which I discuss the need for students to recognize that equality within the religious framework is not attainable at YU, for better or for worse.
Though I did not mention this in the original article, there is a lack of nuance surrounding the debate of women using the pool, and the “Modest Proposal” article is a perfect example of this. Women using the YU pool is a unique issue; it is not like women using the library, women living uptown, or women attending graduate school on the Wilf Campus. It is an issue that cannot be used as an example for the ways in which male and female students have different opportunities, for it is a situation in which explicit immodesty is at the forefront of the debate. Women do not wear bikinis walking on Amsterdam Avenue, nor would they do so in the library or in any YU facilities besides the pool. If YU can prevent situations of immodesty, it must.
The author of “Modest Proposal” represents the students who treat this debate with a lack of nuance in that she A) is quick to equate the pool to every other YU facility or opportunity as well as to situations (like “Heights parties”) which are not affiliated with YU and B) fails to understand that YU is not a place where exact equality is achievable. I don’t necessarily believe that male and female YU students are treated equally, but I discourage fellow students from using access to the pool as an example of the inequality that does or does not exist at YU.
The author also implies that “Kavod HaBriyot,” “Gemilut Chasadim,” and “Kivush HaYetzer” are more important values than the value of modesty. Perhaps this is true, but remember that the issue at hand is access to a swimming pool, not access to educational materials, basic necessities, or affordable transportation. Until someone convinces me that having access to a pool is crucial to a quality college education, I continue to firmly argue that modesty trumps all in this particular situation.
At no point in my article do I even imply that I am in favor of keeping women away from the uptown campus. I simply argue that I am in favor of keeping women in bathing suits away from the uptown campus.