By Sarah Brill, Science & Technology Editor
Throughout my three years here at Stern, I have headed clubs, been a board member on clubs, been a member of clubs, but there are still clubs on campus that I would have liked to get involved in but couldn’t due to my gender and due to the campus I attend. While Yeshiva University remains a gender-separate school, divided by campuses, for academics, but a line should be drawn with clubs.
I am not talking about clubs that some feel should only be one gender; for example, a hypothetical Torah learning club or a hugging club. I am talking about clubs that are related to movies, TV shows, cooking, and random everyday activities that can be coed without violating Judaic law.
Sometimes, the club that is being formed elects, through an agreement of the board members, to make it open to single gender. Meanwhile, others find that going through the trouble of getting added signatures for the club request form for another campus to open it to all genders is too much of a bother. Sometimes, students will get their club approved without thinking that it could possibly include or appeal to the other campus. Often, heads of clubs choose to make their club on their campus just to test it out for the semester or the year with the intention of making their club coed in the future.
For students who want to form a single-gender-only club, I will ask you: can you include the other campus in that club? If yes, then what is your reasoning for excluding them? The students on the other campus might be interested in the subject, movie, or event that your club is planning. If one wishes to argue, one could say the intrigued individuals of the excluded campus can always form the same club with their own gender, but if a club is already approved and running, why not save them the trouble and make the existing club coed? With a coed club, there is only one set of forms to fill out and double the amount of people arriving at each given event. Logistically, joining forces make for less paperwork and a stronger club
Of course, it is not just the students who decide whether their club should be single-gender or not; it is also up to the Office of Student Life (OSL) to approve the clubs requested. For example, if a club applies and OSL deems it to be single-gender, then odds are, instead of getting rid of their club altogether, the heads will decide to make it single-gender even if that was not their original intention.
Regardless of the circumstances, all clubs at YU, excluding those that might violate halachic (Jewish) law or are gender-specific, should be coed to introduce a more cohesive and unified atmosphere on campus and to generate a university culture that is strong and united.