BRIEF FILED AGAINST YALE
Catalyst March Issue 1998
The Catholic League has filed an amicus brief on behalf of Orthodox Jewish students at Yale University who have had their religious liberties abridged. The league’s brief, prepared by William Bentley Ball, was recently filed in United States District Court for the District of Connecticut.
Yale contends that it has a right to force freshman and sophomore students to live on campus and abide by its living arrangements. If students object, they can live off campus, but only if they agree to pay the nearly $7,000 room and board fee to the university. The Catholic League believes that the objecting Orthodox Jewish students should not be penalized for opting to live off campus. The students ask only that Yale respect their religious convictions: they cannot in good conscience accept living arrangements that allow for coed dorms and bathrooms, condom machines and “safe sex” literature.
The league explained its position to the media as follows:
“In his Catholic League brief in Hack et al. v. Yale, William Bentley Ball said that Yale’s policy represents ‘a serious imposition upon the religious liberty of Orthodox Jewish students.’ Indeed it does, which is why we are fighting this case on both free exercise grounds and freedom of association.
“If the effect of Yale’s policy were to incidentally burden religion, there would be little reason to protest. But this policy directly clashes with the religious rights of the students, so much so that it is ‘severely coercive.’
“It says something about Yale’s alleged commitment to tolerance and diversity that it openly practices such intolerance for the diversity that these students seek. This case should never have wound up in the courts. That it has is demonstrative of Yale’s obstinacy.”