YCSA and SOY Petition Student Court Over YSU Presidency Vacancy
The Yeshiva College Student Association (YCSA) and Student Organization of Yeshiva (SOY) submitted a petition to the Wilf Student Court against the Yeshiva Student Union (YSU) on Jan. 26, concerning the presidential vacancy, after former YSU President Ariel Sacknovitz (SSSB ‘20) stepped down following the fall 2019 semester. The court will hear the case to determine if the Wilf Student Constitution allows current YSU Vice President of Clubs Zachary Greenberg (SSSB ‘21) to fill the role as YSU President, despite serving as a Rubin Hall resident adviser.
While Article II, Section 2(5) of the Constitution would entitle Greenberg to succeed the YSU presidency in a case like this, Article II, Section 10(1) disallows him from being a member of the General Assembly because of his position as a resident adviser. This is the crux of what the court will be ruling on.
The case of YCSA and SOY v. YSU will not be a public trial. Chief Justice of the Wilf Student Court Phillip Dolitsky (YC ‘20) emailed students that the court will instead “be accepting briefs from any person who wishes to bring arguments to the attention of the Court regarding the case.” When asked for further clarification on the reason and Constitutional basis for this decision, Dolitsky did not respond. Student Court Justice Aryeh Burg (YC ‘20) shared, “I don’t love that it is not a public trial, but I do understand that it is a time-sensitive trial and issue for a lot of parties involved.”
Burg recused himself from the trial because, before stepping down, Sacknovitz said Burg would be a “great replacement” as YSU President. Burg clarified, “I have absolutely no intention of running [for YSU President in the future].”
Elimelekh Perl (YC ‘22) is representing Greenberg and submitted a brief to the student court in defense of him being YSU President. “I argued that in the case of succession, eligibility requirements typically necessary for election to the YSU Presidency and a seat on the General Assembly are subject to exception,” Perl explained. “The Constitution explicitly says that the VP of Clubs can be a junior, but succeeds the President — even though a Presidential-elect must be a senior. Similarly, Zach's position as an RA, which would prevent him from being elected President, is not a problem in the case of succession.”
Greenberg contested the trial being held at all, reasoning that “it will take weeks to find a new president, weeks for [the new president] to get the hang of it, and by that time, the year will nearly be over.”
Student council leaders, however, felt that a trial was necessary. “It is very important to us on student council that we maintain the laws set forth by the constitution,” SOY President Yoni Broth (SSSB ‘20) explained. “Zach being an RA and the YSU President at the same time [is] clearly against the constitution.” Both Broth and YCSA President Leib Wiener (YC ‘20) filed the petition to the student court.
Chair of the Canvassing Committee Jacob Rosenfeld (YC ‘21) had previously said that the Canvassing Committee would be filing for this case, but they eventually decided against it. “The Canvassing Committee declined to file because we viewed the status quo as a good option,” Rosenfeld said, “and [we] did not see a need to force a case upon Zach.”
The court’s decision on this case is expected to either elect Greenberg as YSU President or hold a new election. “I think they are going to put it to an election,” Burg shared.
If Greenberg is offered the position to become YSU President, he will need to resign from his position as a resident adviser. “If Zachary is allowed to serve and chooses to take the position, he would need to resign as an RA,” Director of Wilf Housing and Residence Life Jonathan Schwab stated. “Both the Constitution and the RA position description clearly state that a student cannot be YSU President and be an RA.”
It is currently unclear when the court will release a decision, although the initial email sent to students explained that it would be announced via email.
“Zach approached me about becoming Vice President [on] Sunday morning,” Jared Benjamin (YC ‘21) told the Commentator. “He told me that he put a lot of thought into his decision to ask me to take on the role of Vice President.” This promotion was contingent upon Greenberg receiving approval to serve as YSU President by the court.
“I’ve been on the student council for two years, and I know how the system works,” Greenberg shared. “I feel that I am best suited to represent YSU and the student body during this difficult time.”
Photo Caption: Glueck Beit Midrash
Photo Credit: The Commentator