You have /5 articles left.
Sign up for a free account or log in.

Yeshiva University has asked for personal information, such as tax returns and mental health records, from plaintiffs who are suing the university for refusing to recognize an LGBTQ student club, NY1 reported.

The request is the latest in an ongoing legal saga between the university and the YU Pride Alliance. Some plaintiffs and state lawmakers have called the move an intimidation tactic.

“Two state courts say that the club is being discriminated against, and for them to use this scare tactic against the students is simply ridiculous and outrageous, and I think they need to stop,” New York State Assembly member Tony Simone told NY1.

Eric Baxter, the university’s attorney and vice president and senior counsel at the Becket Fund, which specializes in religious liberty cases, said that the exchange of information, part of what’s called the discovery process, could have been skipped if the university had its way.

“Yeshiva has repeatedly asked the plaintiffs’ lawyer to bypass this discovery phase in the trial court and instead proceed quickly to the New York Court of Appeals to resolve the legal questions. Unfortunately, plaintiffs’ lawyer has refused this offer,” Baxter told NY1. “The university’s requests for documents quantifying plaintiffs’ claimed injuries are standard in such cases and made necessary by plaintiffs’ attorney.” He also noted that university leaders started a group to support its LGBTQ students.

Katie Rosenfeld, the lawyer representing the Pride Alliance, pushed back on claims that the university tried to forgo the discovery process and that the newly created club fulfills LGBTQ students’ needs.

“In the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty’s haste to disenfranchise the LGBTQ students at YU, they misstate the basics of legal practice in New York,” she told NY1. “The appellate division remitted the case back to the trial court for discovery and trial: discovery is not optional.”

“Unfortunately, YU and its lawyers prefer to harass their students through the courts and fabricate a ‘club’ with no student members than create a safe and supportive space for LGBTQ students,” she added.