By: Sammy Intrator  | 

Non-YU Students Granted IDs To Access Certain YU Buildings

Yeshiva University began giving out IDs to non-students over the last few weeks, allowing them access to various YU buildings. This marks the loosening of the strict security from the beginning of the pandemic that limited facilities to students, faculty and staff.

“As a prominent community institution, we have long allowed our neighbors and alumni access to the Glueck Beit Midrash for learning and davening,” a YU spokesperson said. “Now, to ensure visitors' access aligns with the university’s necessary COVID protocols such as vaccination status and weekly testing, YU’s security office has begun administering university identification to a small number of beit midrash visitors.”

The spokesperson emphasized that non-students must “adhere to the same security, safety and health policies” as those who “live, learn and work here.” They added, “If someone believes another person is not authorized to be on campus, they should immediately notify YU security.”

It is unclear what, if any, qualifications or criteria are needed to receive an ID beyond proof of vaccination and adherence to other COVID-related policies. 

According to one non-YU student, who received an ID and spoke to The Commentator under the condition of anonymity, he initially reached out to Undergraduate Torah Studies  Dean Rabbi Yosef Kalinsky about gaining access to Wilf Campus’ batei midrash to learn Torah and attend minyanim. Upon his request, he was granted an ID and told to go to Wilf Campus’ security office to pick it up, provided he adhered to all the same COVID-19 policies required of students, such as vaccination and weekly testing. The student lives in Washington Heights.

This policy marks a significant change from YU’s updated policy on its website. According to its latest policy release in September 2021, visitors are only permitted into YU buildings for scheduled appointments of “legitimate YU business.” Visitors are also required to adhere to the same COVID protocols as students and faculty: they must be fully vaccinated, follow masking protocols and display a negative PCR test if appearing for multiple occasions. The guidelines say that visitation to libraries, however, is suspended on both campuses. While alumni and spouses are advised to contact the Office of Alumni Affairs to get alumni IDs and student IDs, respectively, there is no mention of non-student IDs or how to procure one. 

Additionally, the policy release states that batei midrash are closed to anyone without either a student, alumni, student spouse or alumni spouse ID, which seems to preclude even those with non-student IDs. 

YU’s September guidelines also relayed the vetting process for visitors, which involves consulting the department head or dean, registering with security and coordinating with the Chief Human Resources Officer and Chief of Security at least two days in advance to ensure protocols are being followed. Visitors must also review COVID safety guidelines.

As of publication, YU has not posted its latest policy changes on its website.

The Washington Heights resident is grateful for YU’s change of policy. He expressed that he was “very thankful to YU for their sensitivity and flexibility in terms of getting me an ID. It definitely makes living in the Heights easier, better, more productive, and more enjoyable. They were very helpful in this situation.”

Photo Caption: The Glueck Beit Midrash on Wilf Campus

Photo Credit: Yeshiva University