LGBTQ alliance puts demands on hold after Yeshiva University suspends all student clubs


(New York Jewish Week) — The LGBTQ group seeking recognition from Yeshiva University agreed to put its demands on hold while their lawsuit moves through the appeals process.

The YU Pride Alliance’s announcement came in response to a move by the Modern Orthodox university to withhold support from all campus clubs rather than recognize the LGBTQ group. 

“We do not want YU to punish our fellow [students] by ending all student activities while it circumvents its responsibilities,” the club’s statement read. “YU is attempting to hold all of its students hostage while it deploys manipulative legal tactics, all in an effort to avoid treating our club equally.”

The group called its decision “painful and difficult.”

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the university’s request of a “stay,” or a pause, in recognizing the Pride Alliance, and returned the case to New York courts. On Sept. 16, just before Shabbat, the university announced to students that instead of allowing the Pride Alliance on campus, as it was ordered to do by a New York court, it would instead be suspending all undergraduate club activity while it pursued its claims in the New York Appellate Division.

The suspension of club activity riled students on campus, and its motivation angered supporters of the Pride Alliance off campus.

Jewish Queer Youth, the organization that has been supporting and funding the YU Pride Alliance, announced in response that it would offer funding and event space to any group affected by the suspension. A spokesperson for the organization told the New York Jewish Week that a handful of clubs have already applied for assistance, and that JQY has approved funding for two events.

Rachael Fried, the organization’s executive director and herself an alumna of Y.U.’s affiliated Stern College for Women, said in a statement that the “offer of support still stands.”  

In a statement, a Y.U. spokesperson said administrators “appreciate the gesture offered by the YU Pride Alliance of a ‘stay,’ and we look forward to it as an opportunity to resume the discussions we had begun, and which were halted by the lawsuit. We welcome and care deeply for all our students, including our LGBTQ community, and we remain committed to engaging in meaningful dialogue about how best to ensure an inclusive campus for all students in accordance with our religious beliefs. We are optimistic that we will be able to reach agreement on how we can do so, in a way that enables us to protect the University’s religious autonomy, supports our LGBTQ students, and brings harmony to our entire community.”

Gay sex is forbidden by nearly all Orthodox interpretations of Jewish law.

The spokesperson also said that the university planned to resume support for club activities “very soon after the Jewish holidays.” The autumn holidays are usually said to conclude with the end of Simchat Torah, which occurs after nightfall on Oct. 18.