Decision Reached in the Canadian Club v. Anonymous Beren Judicial Council Case: Perspectives from The Court and Canadian Club 

By: Emily Goldberg  |  May 10, 2024

By Emily Goldberg, Publication Manager and Layout Editor 

After a lawsuit was brought against the YU Canadian Club in the Beren Judicial Council claiming the club discriminated against non-canadian students, on May 5, 2024, the Beren Judicial Council ruled not to implement any official action against the Canadian Club. 

The Canadian Club v. Anonymous case was filed by an anonymous Stern student claiming that the Canadian Club was exclusionary against non-Canadians on a waitlist for one of their events. 

The legal ruling obtained by the YU Observer from the Beren Judicial Council summarized the court hearing and decision on this case. Specifically, the document described the nature of the specific incident at hand. “A student who wishes to remain anonymous, [decided] to file a claim against the Canadian Club, for excluding her from a Hockey event,” read the ruling. “She explains that she was denied participation in this event (via obtaining a sponsored ticket), because she was not a Canadian citizen.” Additionally, the ruling noted that “the flier promoting the event was labeled as: ‘Only for Canadian citizens.’” 

Mia Drazin (SSSB ‘24), the President of the Canadian Club on the Beren Campus, told the YU Observer that the flier did not represent Canadian Club values. “The next day, we took it down, before anyone said anything. [This was of] our own will,” Drazin told the YU Observer. “It was false information. Two days later we put out a new flier [without that line], immediately.” She continued, “Almost every single person that was on the waitlist was offered a ticket, especially non-Canadians.”  

The legal ruling described why the court decided not to take action against the Canadian Club. “Specifically, due to the unfair treatment of the Canadian Club in the past (regarding being wrongfully terminated and excluded from the International Club), the court understands their wish to continue providing a space for Canadians to gather and hold events.” 

The leaders of the Canadian Club expanded on this incident for the YU Observer. In the beginning of the 2022-2023 academic school year, Canadians that were a part of the International Club were discriminated against, when all Canadians were taken off the International Club board, unprovoked, and without any explanation. According to the Canadian Club leaders, that is why the Canadian Club was formed in the first place. 

Drazin felt very confused when she found out that the Canadian Club was being sued. “I have no idea why they are suing me. It’s crazy,” she told the YU Observer. “I think that a lot of things were misconstrued and taken out of context.” She continued, “I really felt like people… were going out of their way to instigate and to try and pick a bone with the Canadian Club for actually no reason.” 

Daniel Sternthal (YC ‘25), President of the Canadian Club on the Wilf Campus, was also disheartened by the court case. “It is very unfortunate [that this court case occurred] as the Canada Club was created to build a community for Canadian students,” he told the YU Observer. “Instead of focusing on our goal, we had to deal with the tedious matters of vindicating our club from faulty charges. The individual should have just reached out to us privately, and we could’ve resolved the case instead of having to deal with unnecessary formalities.”

Drazin reflected on the court’s decision not to take action against the Canadian Club. “I think they made the right decision that they ended up dropping it,” she said. Drazin just wants to put this behind her and “end the year off on a positive note.”  

Ruchama Benhamou (SCW ‘24), Chief Justice of the Beren Judicial Council as well as the managing editor for the YU Observer, also reflected on the outcome of the case. “On behalf of my fellow court justices, I believe the decision we reached reflects the values and integrity of the Beren Campus Constitution and Bylaws,” Benhamou told the YU Observer. “Our decision offers a keen solution to address both the plaintiff’s and defendants’ wishes as well as ensures all issues of equity and equality are addressed now and in the future.”

Although the Beren Judicial Council will currently not take action against the club for this incident, the legal ruling noted that in the future the court will work in tandem with the YU Office of Student Life (OSL) and Campus Groups to ensure that future waitlists for all clubs are randomized and in no way manipulated by club leaders. 

Benhamou elaborated on why this was an important aspect of the court’s ruling. “Our decision in particular reflects the main issue at hand: that the Campus Group system is inherently problematic and thus unconstitutional… In other words, the heads of clubs can promote whoever they wish and place their friends or any other person higher on the waitlist which negatively affects everyone in the waitlist for that event.” 

Drazin emphasized that she plans to “adapt the new waitlist system.”

The Beren Judicial Council, however, did rule that due to the Canadian Club’s behavior in court, which they deemed “disrespectful,” the court hopes to amend the Beren Campus Constitution and Bylaws to establish a clause called “contempt of the court,” which will set a binding case law for all court proceedings in the future so such conduct will not be allowed in court. To amend the Bylaws, the Legislature will have to vote on the change. 

Benhamou elaborated on why the court decided to create this new clause with the Legislature at a later date. “Specifically, a member of the defendant’s party openly lied to the court on record, regarding live streaming [the court session] without consent,” she said. “Lying to the court as well as disrespecting fellow parties and justices is a serious offense.” 

The legal ruling described the nature of what being held in contempt means for the future regarding student clubs and organizations. “Contempt of the court will be a serious accusation and should not be taken lightly,” stated the ruling. “To ensure the proper punishment is due, the court will hold a meeting with the Legislature to set an official punishment.” Furthermore, “the possible punishments that could be implemented against clubs and student organizations will likely be suspension of major club events, removal of certain board members, and/or the dismissal and disbandment of the club.” 

Moreover, because of inconsistencies in both narratives and the chaos described of the court hearing, the Beren Judicial Council has decided that a member of OSL will now sit in all court hearings in the future to mediate court proceedings. 

Drazin expanded on the nature of this incident for the YU Observer, noting that the court gave permission to video the hearing. “The girl who was videoing the court case, she, of her own will, decided to live stream it on the Canadian Club instagram.” 

“When [the girl recording] was asked about it, she lied because she was frazzled in the moment [because] the judges were being very rude and scary,” said Drazin. “Immediately, I took it down and I deleted it, and then I apologized on her behalf.” 

Mia emphasized that anyone was allowed and even encouraged to attend the court case. “She (the girl videoing) [was] not even a YU student and we weren’t paying attention to it because we had other things on our mind… She is not even officially a member of the club,” said Drazin. “She was previously in the club… and she’s not even Canadian, which is another proof that the club allows people that aren’t Canadians to be members,” she said. 

Drazin expressed how many people felt disrespected by the court system, including during the court hearing. “The court was screaming and being very rude to the Canadian Club,” said Drazin. Drazin noted that Canadian Club members were not given chairs when they asked and were given “snarky comments” by court members. “It’s like they [were] trying to leave with a shred of dignity, they [were] trying to get the last kick.” 

“At the end of the day these are real people’s lives; this is not just a game,” said Drazin. “A lot of people were really embarrassed by this case, a lot of people were really stressed by it. They have to realize that their actions have consequences.” 

Additionally, Drazin expressed that she felt unprepared by the court system coming into the case. Specifically, Drazing said that when she was informed about the court hearing, she was told it would be a casual conversation and would not be intense. 

Drazin expressed that she felt misled when she was told that “it’s not a big deal.” However, Drazin expressed that when she showed up in the court that was not the atmosphere she experienced. “Every single person in that room can tell you that this was the most biased court I have ever seen.” 

The legal ruling highlighted the importance of this case. “It raises questions about the inclusivity and fairness of campus organizations, highlighting the importance of fostering an inclusive environment for all students,” read the ruling. “The outcome of this case will set a precedent for addressing similar issues in the future and shaping the policies governing campus clubs and organizations.” 

With the decision of the court finalized, Sternthal hopes that the experience he and his fellow Canadian Club leaders had in court will not occur to other club heads in the years to come. “I hope that, in the future, the student government and court can invest their time and effort into providing positive experiences for students here at Yeshiva University and Stern College instead of attempting to overthrow clubs that bring enjoyment and unity to members of our student body.” 

For Drazin, despite the turmoil of this case, the Canadian Club is a place she believes promotes positivity and inclusive values. “We are just a club that [wants] to promote friendship and community,” she said. “We really have it out against no one.”

Drazin believes that the Canadian Club is a vital part of the YU community. “The Canadian Club is really important to a lot of people on campus and its provided a lot of fun and enjoyment,” she said. “People are telling me firsthand all the time how happy they are to have this club… it brings a sense of home because everyone is so far away from home.”