By: Sruli Friedman  | 

Yeshiva University Aims to Open New Dental School Within Two Years

Yeshiva University is in the “embryonic stages” of establishing a new graduate-level dental school by 2025-26, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Selma Botman revealed during a faculty council meeting this month. 

YU has already begun the budgeting process and hired a firm to look over their pro forma budget, Botman said at the meeting. YU has also hired an interim dean with experience establishing another dental school for a two-year term, which will end if YU does not establish a dental school by its expiration. 

“Opening a dental school is a very exciting possibility for Yeshiva University and we are researching the possibility,” Botman told The Commentator several weeks before the meeting. “We are in the very early stages, collecting information, estimating costs, assessing accreditation requirements. More information can follow once we have additional details.”

During the meeting, which was open to the public and attended by The Commentator, Botman also mentioned that YU was looking for a new campus to house the dental school, along with a “revenue generating” dental clinic. “We have no space on the campuses, regrettably,” she told faculty members attending the meeting. 

Although Botman did not mention the name of the interim dean during the meeting, she confirmed with The Commentator that the position is held by Dr. Edward Farkas. Farkas, former vice-dean of Touro University’s dental school, was fired by the school days before his planned Jan. 1 resignation. The university soon after filed a lawsuit against him in federal court, alleging that Farkas had downloaded thousands of files in December containing trade secrets that could help other universities establish their own dental school without notifying Touro. 

Farkas had previously served as vice-dean of Touro’s dental school since before its opening in 2016, and participated in its establishment and accreditation.

Touro’s complaint does not allege that Farkas shared any files with YU. The complaint does mention that he had announced his intention to resign in order to work for a competitor of Touro, unnamed in the lawsuit, which The Commentator confirmed to be YU. Touro and Farkas quickly agreed to an order that Farkas would refrain from accessing or disseminating any files that Touro alleges that he downloaded. 

“Although we cannot comment specifically on pending litigation, Dr. Farkas vehemently denies the allegations against him,” Gary Snitow (SSSB ‘02), one of Farkas’s lawyers, told The Commentator. “[W]e have sought to have this matter adjudicated in Bais Din [Rabbinic Court], as is appropriate. To date, Touro has not agreed.”

Farkas’s attorneys have since filed motions to either dismiss the case outright or compel arbitration or mediation by a Beit Din. Touro has filed responses in opposition to both motions.

Touro University declined to comment on the suit or Farkas’s request to settle the case in Beit Din, with an outside counsel telling The Commentator that while the university wouldn’t comment, “[a]s a general rule, Touro reflects – in philosophy and action – the ethos of Torah and Halacha.  Touro is certainly guided by that, now and always.”

Botman, when asked by The Commentator, did not comment on whether any additional faculty members have been hired by YU yet to work at the new graduate school.

Before being established, YU’s dental school would need to be accredited by the Committee on Dental Accreditation (CODA), a process which involves filing a report detailing the school’s “resources, curriculum, policies and operational standards” and completing an on-site review, according to CODA’s website. Applications and reports are reviewed and accreditation decisions are made during the committee’s bi-annual meetings. 

Pre-dental students expressed their excitement at the news of the prospective school.

"As a Yeshiva College pre-dental student, the news of a potential YU dental school fills me with excitement,” Doron Sedaghat (YC ‘27) told The Commentator. “I am eager to further pursue my passion in a graduate program closely aligned with an undergraduate institution I deeply admire.”


Editor’s Note: This article was updated on March 27 with a response from Touro University’s outside counsel.