By: Yosef Lemel | News  | 

Sacknovitz to Step Down as YSU President

Yeshiva Student Union (YSU) President Ariel Sacknovitz (SSSB ‘20) is stepping down from his position at the end of the fall semester, The Commentator has learned. Sacknovitz will leave his post open with four months left in his term, which expires in May. It is currently unclear who will replace him as president of YSU, if anyone.

Sacknovitz explained that upon completing his academic requirements he will no longer be a full-time student in January. According to Sacknovitz, after stepping down at the end of the current semester, he “will continue working with OSL and helping out until a smooth transition plan is made.” Sacknovitz is currently unsure as to whether he will be a part-time student in the spring semester.

The Wilf Student Constitution in Article II, Section 2(5), as amended last fall, states, “If the YSU President is permanently unable to perform his duties or is removed from office before or on March 1, the YSU Vice President of Clubs shall succeed to the YSU Presidency.” The current YSU Vice President of Clubs is Zachary Greenberg (SSSB ‘21). 

Greenberg is currently in his junior year, which would prevent him from assuming the position of YSU President for the duration of the year as per Article II, Section 2(3) of the Wilf Student Constitution, which states, “The YSU President must be a senior in good standing and a full-time student.” He is also the resident advisor for the seventh floor of Rubin Hall. Resident advisors are restricted from serving as members of the General Assembly — a body that includes the YSU President — as per Article II, Section 10(1) of the Wilf Student Constitution. The Constitution does not specify whether these restrictions apply to an interim position. 

According to Greenberg, the Office of Student Life (OSL) is considering appointing him as interim president followed by elections for the vacant presidency. “[Student Life Coordinator] Avi Schwartz and [Director of University Housing and Residence Life] Jonathan Schwab have recently spoken to me about assuming the position,” said Greenberg. 

“I don’t want to be the YSU president now. I just want to do what’s best for the student body,” Greenberg expressed. “Hopefully, we’ll get a new permanent one quickly and efficiently.”

“The Student Court will decide how to move forward regarding a new YSU President,” said Director of Student Events Linda Stone. As of the time of publication, Stone did not respond to The Commentator’s inquiries as to whether Greenberg will assume the position of interim YSU president at the beginning of the spring semester. 

Phillip Dolitsky (YC ‘20), the chief justice of the Wilf Student Court, expressed interest in resolving the constitutional vagueness regarding the line of succession in this situation. “It is something that we ought to deal with. In order to deal with it, however, there has to be a formal filing to the Court,” said Dolitsky. 

The case is expected to be filed by the Canvassing Committee — a student committee that deals with student elections — at the start of the spring 2019 semester, according to Jacob Rosenfeld (YC ‘21), chair of the Canvassing Committee. “We simply can’t take a new case until the new semester begins for obvious technical and logistical reasons. We’re forced to respond within a certain time period if we’re taking the case and there’s no way that’s happening in the next few days during finals,” stated Dolitsky. 

Reflecting on his experience as YSU president, Sacknovitz expressed, “I think that changing the focus from just one group of students to all different types was a key accomplishment. That manifested itself in the Chanukah Concert where we were able to have so many different types of students all together in the same place.” 

Sacknovitz hopes that the student councils will continue to meet the needs of every segment of the student body. “I think that also includes the yeshiva, which I think has been forgotten over the years,” he said. 

Sacknovitz said that Aryeh Burg (YC ‘20) — a justice on the Student Court — would be “a great replacement” for him. As of the time of publication, Burg has not made a decision as to whether he would run in a prospective election.

This is a developing story. 

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Photo Caption: Ariel Sacknovitz 

Photo Credit: Ariel Sacknovitz