When Too Much Information Oversteps Halacha?

By: Sophia Gordon  |  December 28, 2017

Yeshiva University promotes the ideal of  Torah U’Madda, which is the platform and aim of the university. As a Modern Orthodox institution it is often difficult to find the balance between the modern secular world and halacha; often it even seems like a paradox. We question whether possible to achieve such an intense feat, however despite this difficulty, we aim to fulfill this as our mission.

Recently I was scrolling through my university email, when I stumbled upon the most recent issue of The Observer. I was immediately taken aback upon seeing the following article title: “Stern College Mashgiach Fired after Investigation into Multiple Allegations.”

I was shocked by the seemingly coarse and insensitive title. It particularly took me by surprise because it disclosed such intimate information.

By  publishing an article that discloses the position of the university worker, The Observer made it  fairly easy to identify the individual involved. As both a Jewish and small university, it is crucial to be as subtle and discreet as possible. This information should only be shared with  individuals who are necessary (administrative bodies, etc.) to deal with the issue. It is important to differentiate between public knowledge and private knowledge; that which can potentially defame an individual unnecessarily should be withheld from the public eye.

That being said, journalists employ great power over  the general public. Exercising freedom of the press must be dealt with in the utmost care and discretion. We as individuals sometimes do not realize the potential one possesses to influence others.

In no way do I defend the actions of this individual, however I think the point can still be just as effective even if specifics about the individuals are absent from the article. From what I gather, the girls who faced this situation handled it well and were right to speak directly to the administration. However I do not believe that details of the individual should be disclosed (such as the position he held at the university). As a small school,  it is fairly easy to discover the identity of the individual. In the future, I request the specifics of the staff member be kept to a bare minimum or within the realm of what is necessary to be told to the entire student body.

Additionally, we must take pride in the fact we attend a Jewish university and understand that we must adhere to an even higher standard when disclosing the truth.