In light of the recent allegations against at least two former members of the Yeshiva University faculty, we believe that it is critical for our university to take preemptive measures to protect its students from potential future abusers. As two current students at Yeshiva University, we would like to suggest two possible steps that the university can take to prevent sexual abuse from reoccurring.
Step One: Ban Teachers And Other Faculty From Entering The Dorms
Having spent several years living in Yeshiva University housing, we find it strange that faculty members appear to have unlimited access to student dorms. On multiple and frequent occasions, we have witnessed various members of the YU faculty (rabbis and other faculty members) enter dorms at all hours of the day—and on several occasions we have seen them enter into specific rooms.
Although we have no reason to believe that any nefarious behaviors have occurred, there is nevertheless something bizarre about the practice. The dormitories should be for students only; this is where we sleep, shower, and live. Just this past year, YU accidentally hired a man who had pleaded guilty to sexually abusing minors. We find it disconcerting to know that this man could have—and may have—passed easily into our dorms.
Step Two: Create A Student Organization To Respond To Allegations
In order for students to feel comfortable reporting possible issues relating to abuse or other uncomfortable topics, it is critical for there to be a student organization for them to go to. Given our university’s current reputation on the subject, it is unlikely that future victims will turn to the YU administration for help.
A student organization is needed to address these critical issues, and we believe that its members should be voted in by the student body. The organization should have access to any resources needed to report abuse, ensuring that victims can easily get the help they need. Like by other student councils, YU should agree to cover its very basic operating expenses. The organization, however, must be run entirely by students, without any supervision from the administration.
As students committed to continuing our educations at YU, we are deeply concerned about the lack of changes made to address possible future cases of abuse. We know that YU’s heart is in the right place, which is why we are here to offer constructive suggestions. There are undoubtedly many more suggestions to be made concerning the topic, but little can be done without a student organization to voice them.
We hope that YU makes the changes that we have suggested here.
Three Concerned Students