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!
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • 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.