When Will Y.U. Learn?

Editorial

facebook

Published October 10, 2013, issue of October 18, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

Roth’s employment calls into serious question Y.U.’s vaunted, “zero tolerance” hiring process, which is supposed to include background checks on all new hires. Was the screening so poorly conducted that Roth’s guilty plea in a New Jersey court was overlooked by the New York institution? A simple computer search turns up the information. Were there extenuating circumstances that argued in favor of Roth’s application and persuaded Y.U. to ignore its own procedures? If this is true, if politics or favoritism was behind this hire, then the university is especially culpable.

Were there really no other Hebrew teachers available in all of New York?

As we have sadly come to expect, the university effectively shut down communication when the Forward posed these questions, several days before publication of Berger’s shocking story. As of presstime, it still has offered no explanation, only the promise that it is continuing to review the matter.

Not only is this mystifying, it is highly irresponsible. Y.U. is facing a $380 million lawsuit filed by 34 former students who allege that the university fraudulently covered up abuse that occurred between 1971 and 1992 and that it misrepresented the safety of the school. Y.U. is fighting this lawsuit by arguing that the students waited too long to file it, since New York State’s restrictive statute of limitations had run out years ago.

But it was only last December, when Berger’s stories first were published, that many of these students — now men ranging in age from 39 to 60 — realized that the sexual, physical and emotional abuse they suffered individually at the hands of rabbinic authority figures was actually widespread. The administration, however, knew. Rabbi Norman Lamm, who was Y.U.’s president at the time, acknowledged in a voluntary interview that he knew of the abuse and failed to properly report it, and then, when he stepped down as chancellor in July, asked for forgiveness for his failures.

Now Lamm’s lawyers argue that he is too cognitively impaired with dementia to testify in the lawsuit.

We think he may be the only honest leader at Y.U.

Richard Joel, who replaced Lamm as Y.U.’s president and was told about the abuse soon after he took office in 2003, said in a statement in August: “Today, the university is a safe place infused with a culture of warmth. For years we have enacted and enforced policies and procedures to protect our students and community members.”

In the case of Akiva Roth, that is blatantly untrue.

When will Y.U. ever learn?

And when will its board of directors, its vast alumni network and community of supporters, hold this administration accountable?


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.