Reflections on the Elections from a Disheartened Member of the Canvassing Committee
I hope that I do not sound too caustic or abrasive, but I write this out of anger and frustration. My three years at Yeshiva University have been the most valuable years of my life. I have learned a lot and grown tremendously. This institution has given me more than I can put into words. However, in just one week, I’ve grown terribly disheartened by what I’ve seen happening “on campus.”
Election season seems to have truly brought out the worst in people. I’m a member of the Canvassing Committee. I was behind the scenes, watching dozens of Student Court lawsuits filed both against and by candidates, each more contentious than the last. I saw dirty campaigning and anonymously authored ballot suggestions claiming to speak for the yeshiva. I saw textbook cyber-bullying, with some candidates receiving aggressive, unsolicited phone calls and texts from unknown numbers, saying things like “I did not vote for you,” or “You are not my president.” I was put over the edge, however, when I heard an undergraduate student say, in jest, that he “wishes death” upon a particular member of the undergraduate community because of a proposed amendment to the Wilf Student Constitution supporting anti-discrimination.
What has become of the undergraduate body of Wilf Campus? Is this Lord of the Flies? Do we condone bad-mouthing? Outright bullying? Using public platforms to defame our peers and arrogantly tout our self-righteous behavior under the guise of religious zealotry? We read in this week’s parsha about the severity of onaat d’varim, verbal harassment, and we read in the weekly parsha only two weeks ago the unambiguous phrase, “v’ahavta l’reyacha kamocha,” love your neighbor like yourself. How could someone in good conscience defend the unjust and hurtful treatment of others on any grounds?
The importance of condemning poor treatment of others is also directly relevant to our attitude towards discrimination. As a community, we should be uncontroversially and unequivocally opposed to discriminatory words or actions of any nature. This should not be construed as implying that by voting no to Amendment Six one is, de-facto, a discriminatory person, because I don’t believe this to be true, nor do I think it would be productive to try and change anyone’s mind on how they voted. However, I sincerely hope, and believe, that there isn’t anyone on our campus who can honestly attempt to religiously justify discriminating based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity. If I am wrong, our community is truly headed to a dark place.
I am only able to speak for myself, but I urge any student who agrees that we cannot tolerate spiteful rhetoric or hurtful actions to please make your voice heard. I don’t tolerate discrimination of any kind. I don’t tolerate bullying. I don’t tolerate “wishing death” upon any member of the YU community in order to make my friends laugh. Unfortunately, the message that the Wilf Campus student body has been sending in recent weeks has been quite the opposite. Please, if you agree with me, say something. Let people know that this is not who we are as a yeshiva, university, or community.
Photo Caption: Election season seems to have truly brought out the worst in people.
Photo Credit: Yeshiva University