YU To No Longer Grant Einstein’s Medical Degrees By End of 2018

By: Ailin Elyasi  |  March 15, 2018

In Fall 2015, Albert Einstein College of Medicine made a historic change to transfer the financial and operational rights from Yeshiva University to Montefiore, after 60 years of YU control. According to Dr. Allen Spiegel, The Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean of Einstein, as per the agreement between the two schools, YU was set to maintain its academic role as the degree granting institution for Einstein until Einstein gained authority to grant its own degrees, which will occur by the end of 2018.

YU will always have a special place in Einstein’s history, as YU President, Dr. Samuel Belkin, worked with influential public figures like NYC’s then mayor Vincent Impellitteri to create the first medical school in NYC. Then, historically under the leadership of YU, Albert Einstein granted the use of his name to the new medical school. Even as YU splits in tangible ways from Einstein, former YU president Richard Joel asserted in an article about the split that the change would not disrupt YU’s strong ties to the medical school. “This is part of a journey that began when Yeshiva University founded Einstein 60 years ago,” he wrote. “Albert Einstein lent his name to this fledgling institution at a time when Jewish students were turned away from other schools. The new imperative in today’s complex health care environment is to formally link this now world-class medical school and research institution to a world-class health system. Yeshiva University continues its historic commitment to medical education while we further our unique mission to prepare students through a contemporary academic education enlightened by Jewish values.”

YU’s role having changed to an institution with “academic oversight,” as Einstein called it in this press formally announcing the agreement with Montefiore, has zero effect on YU’s admissions numbers to the school. Einstein’s class of 2018 which was accepted before the split in 2014, admitted fifteen YU students. Only the University of California, with a total population of 41,910 in 2017, had the same number of students admitted to Einstein as Yeshiva University, which had a much smaller population of 6,348 in 2015. The class of 2021, which was accepted after the split in 2016, still admitted fifteen Yeshiva University students.

However nice it sounds that “YU continues its historic commitment to medical education,” as President Joel put it, once the year ends, there will not be the same tangible ties connecting Yeshiva University to Albert Einstein Medical School, except for what Einstein calls “academic oversight.”  Most universities use the term “academic oversight” to describe students given additional attention due to a sub-par academic record, but neither Einstein nor YU defines YU’s role as an academic overseer. Therefore, it is unclear if YU will have a large role in Einstein or any role at all. Either way, by the time the year ends, and Einstein gains the authority to grant its own degrees, Yeshiva University’s connection to Einstein will become less tangible and subject to change.

Most students seem unaware of the true nature of Yeshiva University’s ties with Einstein after the split. This student misperception is bolstered by the fact that YU acts in many ways as if the split never happened and their relationship has remained the same. YU still lists Einstein as the first of its graduate institutions (in alphabetical order) on its website. In addition, near the bottom of its news website, YU has an entire widget, a web application that provides easy access to another site, devoted to reposting articles from Einstein’s own site describing their most recent successes like grant acquisitions and recent scientific discoveries. When reviewing the 2017 year, YU includes Einstein’s successes and calls the school “YU affiliated”, sharing in the  credit for Einstein’s outstanding achievements even while YU’s ties to Einstein are vague. Meanwhile, on Einstein’s website, the only mention of Yeshiva University is in the sentence mentioning the split, although it maintains a yu.edu address.

Shaina Bakhshi, biology major at SCW ‘19 states, “I feel cheated by the school to know that they advertised such close ties to the medical school, while the school will no longer even grant Einstein’s degrees. Part of the reason I accepted a place at YU was due to its ties to Einstein, as I am pre-med. Thus, I feel supremely disappointed that the ties are disappearing and I did not know about it.”