By: Jonathan Levin  | 

Yeshiva University Temporarily Freezes All Undergraduate Club Activities

Yeshiva University will temporarily freeze all undergraduate club activities until it finalizes its legal strategy after its request for a stay on an order to recognize a campus LGBTQ+ club was denied by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Sources close to the administration told The Commentator that university officials are considering dissolving all clubs and student organizations to avoid recognizing the YU Pride Alliance as an official campus club. The future of student-run activities and student councils is unknown.

“Considering the upcoming Chagim,” a university email said, “the university will hold off on all undergraduate club activities while it immediately takes steps to follow the roadmap provided by the US Supreme Court to protect YU’s religious freedom.”

The university’s statement, sent by an unattributed student activities university email account, did not specify who was involved in this decision, what will be affected and how long the decision will be in effect.

Condemnation from student leaders was immediate. 

“Clubs are an essential aspect of the YU experience and putting them on hold interferes with all of the positive opportunities and experiences that students gain from clubs,” said Stern College for Women Student Council (SCWSC) President Meital Lindenberg (SCW ‘23). “They serve to provide professional development, facilitate chesed opportunities, and create a sense of community on campus for students.”

“Student life is highly valued at this institution and clubs are essential to building positive student life on campus,” Lindenberg added.

Other student leaders told The Commentator that the university had not informed them of the measure or how to proceed. 

“We were not expecting the university to take this drastic measure, and have not received any guidance about how we are to proceed with approving clubs, or having student council events,” Yeshiva Student Union (YSU) President Baruch Lerman (YC ‘23) told The Commentator.

Students, as part of their tuition, pay an activity fee of $200 as part of tuition earmarked for club activities. Lerman hopes to fight to get money refunded in the event club funds are withheld and the university follows through on its policy.

“If the university follows through with this new policy relating to student activities,” Lerman told The Commentator, “I will be insisting that the student activities fees that are charged on every student's tuition bill be prorated for the extent of the time that student activities are suspended.”

The Commentator is independently run from Yeshiva University and is self-funded. However, The Commentator’s funds are stored in an account held by the Office of Student Life (OSL). It is unclear how The Commentator’s operations will be affected.

In a 5-4 decision Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to issue YU a stay, mostly on procedural grounds. The decision vacated a temporary stay Justice Sonia Sotomayer granted YU on Sept. 9. YU has been seeking a stay since a June court decision ordered it to recognize the YU Pride Alliance.

YU has one week of in-person classes and five days of virtual classes through the chagim. Students will return to campus on Oct. 19.

More than 130 clubs applied for club status before the application deadline of Sept. 12.

This is a developing story

Chaim Book contributed to this story

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Photo Caption: Yeshiva University temporarily freezes all undergraduate club activities.

Photo Credit: The Commentator