Yeshiva University on Monday announced the creation of a new LGBTQ student group amid its legal battle over its refusal to recognize the YU Pride Alliance.
The new university-approved club, the Kol Yisrael Areivim Club, will provide a space for LGBTQ students at the Jewish university to support one another “within the Torah framework,” Eric Baxter, vice president and senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, told reporters, as quoted by The Hill.
Baxter, who is representing Yeshiva University in a case brought against the school by the YU Pride Alliance, stressed that the formation of the Kol Yisrael Areivim Club will not resolve the parties’ legal woes, and the lawsuit will continue.
The YU Pride Alliance has for more than a year argued it deserves to be recognized by Yeshiva University as an official student organization and afforded the same rights as other recognized clubs on campus.
In June, the New York County Supreme Court ruled that Yeshiva University must recognize YU Pride Alliance.
Judge Lynn Kotler at the time directed the university to provide the YU Pride Alliance “full equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges afforded to all other student groups at Yeshiva University.”
In September, the Supreme Court ruled that Yeshiva University is required for the time being to officially recognize YU Pride Alliance.
The sides then agreed to delay the club’s recognition while the school filed another appeal.
In a letter sent Monday to students and faculty, Yeshiva University announced the launch of the Kol Yisrael Areivim Club, which it said presents a “traditional Orthodox alternative to YU Pride Alliance.” The club has been approved by the school’s administration and endorsed by senior leadership.
“The club will provide students with space to grow in their personal journeys, navigating the formidable challenges that they face in living a fully committed, uncompromisingly authentic halachic life within Orthodox communities,” reads the letter, a copy of which was sent to The Hill.
The letter said the Kol Yisrael Areivim Club was created using input from current and past LGBTQ undergraduate students, as well as the recommendations of rabbis and professors at the school.
In a statement to The Hill, the YU Pride Alliance called the Kol Yisrael Areivim Club’s launch a “desperate stunt” by Yeshiva University officials to distract from calls for change from donors, alumni, faculty and the broader community. The group said the new club is a “sham” because it was not formed or led by students and does not have any members.
“Rather, it is a feeble attempt by YU to continue denying LGBTQ students equal treatment as full members of the YU student community,” the YU Pride Alliance said.