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Yeshiva University cancels all clubs after it was ordered to allow an LGBTQ group

People walk by the campus of Yeshiva University in New York City on Aug. 30. The school told students in an email that it was pausing all student clubs on campus.

Yeshiva University says it’s pausing all student clubs on campus just days after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block a lower court ruling that ordered the school to recognize an LGBTQ group.

In an unsigned email to students, the New York City school said that, considering upcoming Jewish holidays, “the university will hold off on all undergraduate club activities while it immediately takes steps to follow the roadmap provided by the US Supreme Court to protect YU’s religious freedom. Warm wishes for a Shannah Tovah.”

Earlier this week the Supreme Court told Yeshiva to go back to New York state court to continue its legal battle with the YU Pride Alliance, an LGBTQ student group that wants to be officially recognized by the university.

The YU Pride Alliance sued the school last year after Yeshiva refused to officially recognize it, claiming that it conflicted with the school’s interpretation of the Torah.

A New York state court ruled that the university had to recognize the club, and the Supreme Court has left that ruling in place for now.

Pride group lawyer calls Yeshiva’s decision “shameful”

Katie Rosenfeld, an attorney for the YU Pride Alliance, said the decision to cancel all club activities “rather than accept one LGBTQ peer support group on campus is a throwback to 50 years ago when the city of Jackson, Mississippi closed all public swimming pools rather than comply with court orders to desegregate.”

“We are confident that YU students will see through this shameful tactic and stand together in community,” Rosenfeld added in a statement.

Yeshiva University did not immediately respond to NPR’s request for comment.

Earlier in the week, Yeshiva University President Rabbi Ari Berman said in a statement that the school would continue to press its case in court.

“Every faith-based university in the country has the right to work with its students, including its LGBTQ students, to establish the clubs, places and spaces that fit within its faith tradition. Yeshiva University simply seeks that same right of self-determination,” Berman said.

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