By: Jonathan Levin  | 

NYC Comptroller Sends Letter to President Berman; Calls on YU to Recognize Pride Alliance

NYC Comptroller Brad Lander sent a letter to President Ari Berman Monday, informing him that his office has been monitoring YU’s stance towards the YU Pride Alliance, and urged the institution to recognize the group.

“Your students are alleging that your current practices are discriminatory and in violation of the New York City's Human Rights Law,” stated Lander. “I must urge your institution to change course and offer a secure environment for your LGBTQ+ students and staff to create a supportive space to rightfully express their full selves.”

Lander’s letter also implied that city funding to the university could be “at risk” due to YU’s refusal to recognize the Pride Alliance.

“Our records show that Yeshiva University has received some $8.8 million in City funding since 2010,” Lander stated. “The University’s discriminatory actions may put future funding and associated services at risk.”

The city’s comptroller acts as chief financial officer for the city and combats corruption, promotes fiscal health and ensures the proper functioning of city agencies.

Lander is not the first elected official to send a letter to President Berman calling on YU to recognize the LGBTQ student group. Last month, three state senators called on Berman to recognize the group and requested that the university submit an accounting of $230 million of state funding the institution received. 

YU never submitted an accounting of its use of the funding, the office of State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, one of the senators who signed the letter, told The Commentator Tuesday. The senators had requested an accounting by Feb. 10, 30 days from the date of their letter.

Six New York State congressional members sent a similar letter in September.

“We will continue to defend our students against these false allegations,” said Yeshiva University spokesperson Hanan Eisenman. “We have already established a path forward which provides loving and supportive spaces for our LGBTQ students. We kindly ask well-meaning politicians to please learn the facts before attacking our students’ Jewish education.”

The New York City Comptroller's office declined a request for comment. 

YU is currently in court with the Pride Alliance, and is appealing an order to recognize the group in the New York Court of Appeals.

YU announced Kol Yisroel Areivim, a university-sanctioned LGBTQ student club, shortly after YU signed a stay with the alliance, ending YU’s club freeze, in October. The Commentator reported that the group existed only as a framework shortly thereafter. 

Kol Yisroel Areivim has yet to hold an event, and a planned event for Jan. 23, advertised as sponsored by The Office of Student Life and slated to feature LGBTQ students speaking about their experiences, did not occur.


Photo Caption: NYC Comptroller Brad Lander, pictured here at the Capital Process Reform Task Force at Gracie Mansion in October, sent a letter to President Ari Berman Monday

Photo Credit: Office of New York City Comptroller