Yeshiva University’s fight against LGBTQ club draws state funding questions

Three New York State lawmakers are demanding solutions from Yeshiva College (YU) after the college presupposed to be an “independent” and “non-sectarian” not-for-profit establishment for funding functions, however later claimed to be a “religious corporation” when it sought to ban an LGBTQ campus club. The varsity hauled in a whole bunch of hundreds of thousands of state {dollars} as a part of the funding agreements, the lawmakers stated.

YU has been mired in a protracted authorized fight against YU Delight Alliance, an undergraduate club searching for recognition on campus.

The letter from state lawmakers, dated January 11, was signed by out homosexual State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal of Manhattan’s District 27 in addition to State Senators Liz Krueger of Manhattan’s District 28 and Toby Ann Stavisky of Queens’ District 16.

“As members of the New York State Senate, we are concerned about the discriminatory treatment of LGBTQ students by Yeshiva University (YU) while receiving funds from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) and other state funds,” the state lawmakers wrote. “YU’s discriminatory behavior is wholly inconsistent with the purposes for which state funding is provided, namely, to promote the fullest possible participation by all students in the state’s educational opportunities.”

Hoylman-Sigal, when reached by cellphone on January 12, counseled the YU Delight Alliance and stated he was “heartsickened” that the scholars “have had their club taken over by Yeshiva University.”

“[The students in the YU Pride Alliance] are really admirable in their efforts and I think it’s incumbent on elected officials to stand for what we also need, which is separation of church and state,” Hoylman-Sigal stated. “Yeshiva University cannot both claim it is a religious institution for the purposes of the lawsuit against the YU Pride Alliance and claim it is a secular body and institution in order to receive hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds from the State of New York.”

Brad Hoylman-Sigal speaking
State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal and his colleagues are giving Yeshiva College 30 days to reply why it’s claiming to be each secular and spiritual.Donna Aceto

The latest improvement within the courtroom battle got here on December 15 when the Manhattan-based New York Appellate Division, First Division, dominated against the college’s attraction of an order by New York County Supreme Court docket Justice Lynn R. Kotler to acknowledge the YU Delight Alliance “immediately.” Homosexual Metropolis Information authorized contributor Arthur S. Leonard reported that it’s doubtless that the college will petition the Court docket of Appeals to problem the newest ruling. If that fails, the college may flip to the US Supreme Court docket.

Kotler had discovered that the college didn’t qualify for an exemption from town’s Human Rights Regulation. A “religious corporation” would qualify for an exemption, however the faculty is integrated beneath New York State Training Regulation reasonably than Spiritual Company Regulation and the choose concluded that the college’s company constitution stipulates that it’s a non-sectarian instructional establishment.

The letter delivered by state lawmakers went on to state that in 2009 and 2011, DASNY issued bonds for the college to pay for renovations and development of faculty buildings. The funding totaled $90,000,000 in 2009 and $140,820,000 in 2011.

“As with all its agreements, DASNY issued these bonds based on the university’s representations to DASNY that the university would use these funds in compliance with DASNY’s requirements set forth in its loan agreements,” the lawmakers wrote.

The mortgage agreements, they stated, specified that “the project or any portion thereof” shall not be used for “sectarian religious instruction or as a place of religious worship or in connection with any part of a program of a school or department of divinity for any religious denomination…”

Lawmakers are giving the college 30 days to offer “a full and complete accounting from YU” relating to its use of the funds from 2009 and 2011, in accordance with the letter.

“We will not abide the use of state funds to support discriminatory behavior that excludes LGBTQ students from their right to an equal education,” the letter said. “We urge Yeshiva University to immediately reverse course and cease its anti-LGBT policies.”

The varsity denied it’s treating LGBTQ college students any in a different way.

“The allegations of discrimination are equally false and offensive,” Eisenman informed Homosexual Metropolis Information on January 12. “Our students, including our LGBTQ students, come to Yeshiva because of our commitment to Torah values. In keeping with our commitment to our students, YU last year announced the framework for the Kol Yisrael Areivim club for our undergraduate students who identify as LGBTQ and are striving to live authentic Torah lives. Our Office of Student Life is working together with our students on the activities of this club.”

In October, the YU Delight Alliance issued a written assertion blasting the Kol Yisrael Areivim club as a “desperate stunt” and a “sham,” saying “its creation involved no collaboration with queer students.”

Hoylman-Sigal slammed the college’s response to the letter.

“To say that the allegations are false and offensive is absurd since multiple courts have found that they are discriminating against LGBTQ students,” Hoylman-Sigal informed Homosexual Metropolis Information. “And the notion that taxpayers would be on the hook for discrimination is utterly offensive to me.”

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