Founded by the Women of Yeshiva University

By: Aaron Shaykevich  |  May 10, 2023

By Aaron Shaykevich, Managing Editor

“Founded by the women of Yeshiva University’s Stern College in 1958, the YU Observer is one of two student-run, independent newspapers representing the undergraduate student body of Yeshiva University.”

The above quote is the main headline of the YU Observer. We send it in our emails, applications, and it appears in the “about” section of our website. It is the first sentence many read when they come across our paper. This sentence is how we have chosen to define our paper and its mission. It encompasses the truest essence of our paper and hidden within it is the ideologies of acceptance and empowerment of all. That is why I love it.

To be honest, last year, when I was promoted to managing editor and therefore first presented with this mission statement, I was not the biggest fan. In fact, I thought the YU Commentator’s “about page” greatly surpassed ours in both word count and detail, with a clear and comprehensive view of their history from past to present, as well as their goals and aspirations. Simply put, I thought they did it better. 

However, over this past year as managing editor for the YU Observer, my opinion regarding the seemingly mediocre mission statement of our paper has changed drastically. I’ve realized that what we have, represents our paper better than anything I could ever formulate to relay its values and aspirations. We have our history. “Founded by the women of Yeshiva University’s Stern College in 1958” is undeniably the most powerful introduction our paper could have and should be present on all of our communications for the rest of time. 

In recent history, the editors-in-chief of the YU Observer have strongly focused on women’s issues, fostering a range of articles from discussing laws regulating women’s bodily autonomy to discussing sexism at YU. The editors-in-chief have managed to underscore areas that not only pertain to the voices both on the Beren campus but also echo those opinions that are active on the world stage. Furthermore, they have emphasized and facilitated helping students amplify their voices upon issues that directly and indirectly affect their YU experience. Our paper has been a platform for marginalized students, featuring the pride alliance and providing an accepting and safe platform for LGBTQ+ students to express themselves. Since its inception in 1958, the YU Observer was founded to bring a voice to the Beren student body and all those who wish to make a difference and speak out their truth.

Therefore, I believe it is pivotal for the editor-in-chief of the YU Observer to be aware of this legacy and put forth all of their efforts to maintain the values and goals as relayed in its history and mission statement. Furthermore, they must ensure they pass this foundational message on to their staff and the next editor-in-chief. That isn’t to say that a male couldn’t or shouldn’t be in the highest positions of the paper, but it means that they would need to ensure and embody this integral legacy of the YU Observer. Not only should the editor-in-chief effectuate this mission statement, but they should also incorporate these important issues and discussions pertaining to both women on the Beren campus and globally. Otherwise, all we’ve done is take away a voice from those who already are facing an uphill battle.

Next year I will be the editor-in-chief of the YU Observer. I will have to make tough choices regarding the future of the paper, and I am sure I will be controversial at points. However, if I could share the primary goal for next year, it is to embrace our history. This paper began because Stern needed a voice, and it will continue to be there for when they do.