By: Nissim Farhy  | 

Beren Judicial Council holds Canadian Club in Contempt, Deems Club Unconstitutional

The Beren Judicial Council ruled that the YU Canadian Club was unconstitutional on the basis of discriminatory and exclusionary policy last month.

The suit, Anonymous v. Canadian Club, filed by a student at Stern College, alleged that the Canadian club had discriminated against her by preventing her from attending a hockey event. She explained that although she received a ticket on Campus Groups she was barred from attending because she lacked Canadian citizenship. She also argued that the waitlist policy was discriminatory, allowing clubs to prioritize certain students over others. Furthermore, she cited a promotional flier for the event that stated the event was “[o]nly for Canadian citizens,'' which she claimed violated the anti-discrimination clause of the Beren Constitution Bylaws

The Canadian Club argued that their actions were justified since they are a club intended to fulfill the needs of Canadian students specifically. They added that they themselves were subject to discrimination in the past by being wrongfully excluded from the International Club.

During the proceedings, the Canadian Club engaged in what was described in the Court's original opinion, as “disrespectful behavior.” “Specifically, a member of the defendant's party openly lied to the court on record, regarding livestreaming the case without consent,” the opinion noted. Additionally, the club protested and interrupted the proceedings and was reprimanded by the court for doing so.

In its ruling, the Court upheld the claim filed by the student that she was wrongfully excluded from the trip. “Due to the internal conflicts within the waitlist being inherently discriminatory, the court will work with Office of Student Life (OSL) and Campus Groups to make ALL waitlists randomized WITHOUT allowing the heads of clubs to manipulate it in ANY way, shape, or form,” they wrote.

This ruling, the Court added, will also hold implications for other discriminatory actions by club heads. This includes accepting friends on waitlists prior to others or releasing sign-up sheets privately before making them publicly available.

Following the initial ruling by the Beren Judicial Council, it came to the Court’s attention that ‘contempt of court’ was not explicitly mentioned in the Beren Constitution. Therefore the court amended its previous ruling to establish rules for contempt of court and hold the Canadian Club liable. “Contempt of the court is a serious accusation and should not be taken lightly,” the Court emphasized. “To ensure the proper punishment is due, the court will hold a meeting with the Legislature to set an official punishment.”

In its establishment, the Court outlined possible punishments for being held in contempt for future Court proceedings. “The possible punishments that could be implemented against clubs and student organizations will likely be suspension of major club events, removal of certain board members, and/or the dismissal and disbandment of the club,” the Court clarified. “Additionally a member of OSL will be present in all future court hearings to mediate court proceedings.”

“On behalf of my fellow court justices I believe that the decision we reached reflects the values and integrity of the Beren campus constitution and bylaws,” Chief Justice Ruchama Benhamou (SCW ‘24) of the Beren Judicial Council told The Commentator. “Additionally, our decision will establish a precedent to be utilized as case law in all future suits regarding club events. Our decision offers a keen solution to address both the plaintiffs and defendants’ wishes as well as ensures all issues of equity and equality are addressed now and in the future.”

The Canadian Club did not respond to multiple Commentator requests for comment.


Photo Caption: Canadian Flag

Photo Credit: Wladyslaw / Wikimedia Commons