I am pleased to present to you this Guide to our plans for the upcoming fall semester and reopening of our campuses. In form and in content, this coming semester will be like no other. We will live differently, work differently and learn differently. But in its very difference rests its enormous power.
The mission of Yeshiva University is to enrich the moral, intellectual and spiritual development of each of our students, empowering them with the knowledge and abilities to become people of impact and leaders of tomorrow. Next year’s studies will be especially instrumental in shaping the course of our students’ lives. Character is formed and developed in times of deep adversity. This is the kind of teachable moment that Yeshiva University was made for. As such, we have developed an educational plan for next year that features a high-quality student experience and prioritizes personal growth during this Coronavirus era. Our students will be able to work through the difficulties, issues and opportunities posed by our COVID-19 era with our stellar rabbis and faculty, as well as their close friends and peers at Yeshiva.
To develop our plans for the fall, we have convened a Scenario Planning Task Force made up of representatives across the major areas of our campus. Their planning has been guided by the latest medical information, government directives, direct input from our rabbis, faculty and students, and best practices from industry and university leaders across the country. I am deeply thankful to our task force members and all who supported them for their tireless work in addressing the myriad details involved in bringing students back to campus and restarting our educational enterprise.
In concert with the recommendations from our task force, I am announcing today that our fall semester will reflect a hybrid model. It will allow many students to return in a careful way by incorporating online and virtual learning with on-campus classroom instruction. It also enables students who prefer to not be on campus to have a rich student experience by continuing their studies online and benefitting from a full range of online student services and extracurricular programs.
In bringing our students back to campus, safety is our first priority. Many aspects of campus life will change for this coming semester. Gatherings will be limited, larger courses will move completely online. Throughout campus everyone will need to adhere to our medical guidelines, including social distancing, wearing facemasks, and our testing and contact tracing policies. Due to our focus on minimizing risk, our undergraduate students will begin the first few weeks of the fall semester online and move onto the campus after the Jewish holidays. This schedule will limit the amount of back and forth travel for our students by concentrating the on-campus component of the fall semester to one consecutive segment.
Throughout our planning, we have used the analogy of a dimmer switch. Reopening our campuses will not be a simple binary, like an on/off light switch, but more like a dimmer in which we have the flexibility to scale backwards and forwards to properly respond as the health situation evolves. It is very possible that some plans could change, depending upon the progression of the virus and/or applicable state and local government guidance.
Before our semester begins, we will provide more updates reflecting our most current guidance. Please check our website, yu.edu/fall2020 for regular updates. We understand that even after reading through this guide, you might have many additional questions, so we will be posting an extensive FAQ section online as well. Additionally, we will also be holding community calls for faculty, students, staff and parents over the next couple of months.
Planning for the future during this moment has certainly been humbling. This Coronavirus has reminded us time and time again of the lessons from our Jewish tradition that we are not in full control of our circumstances. But our tradition also teaches us that we are in control of our response to our circumstances. Next semester will present significant challenges and changes. There will be some compromises and minor inconveniences--not every issue has a perfect solution. But faith and fortitude, mutual cooperation and resilience are essential life lessons that are accentuated during this period. And if we all commit to respond with graciousness, kindness, and love, we can transform new campus realities into profound life lessons for our future.
Deeply rooted in our Jewish values and forward focused in preparing for the careers and competencies of the future, we journey together with you, our Yeshiva University community, through these uncharted waters. Next year will be a formative year in the lives of our students, and together we will rise to the moment so that our students will emerge stronger and better prepared to be leaders of the world of tomorrow.
Undergraduate Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities
Yeshiva University strives to maintain a community which supports intellectual growth, learning from others, mutual respect and freedom of thought and expression. Yeshiva University undergraduate students are encouraged to take advantage of the academic and non-academic opportunities available to them, to deepen their intellectual insights through formal instruction, and to expand their educational experience through and beyond their academic programs.
Respect for one another is essential to preserving the spirit of community at Yeshiva University. Membership in the Yeshiva University community entails certain rights and responsibilities. All members of this community are accorded these rights, and are equally accountable to uphold their responsibilities. It is therefore important to maintain a clear statement of basic rights, obligations and responsibilities concerning both academic and personal conduct.
Rights of Undergraduate Students
Yeshiva University undergraduate students have the following rights:
Citizenship: Students have the right to exercise their rights as citizens of the University. They have the right to partake in the student government in their respective school(s) as well as to organize and join clubs and participate in their events, in all cases in accordance with applicable rules and procedures. (For more information, see Student Government Constitutions)
Expression Students have the right to examine and exchange diverse ideas, consistent with the mission of the University, in an orderly, respectful and lawful manner inside and outside the classroom.
Association Students have the right to associate and interact freely with other individuals, groups of individuals, organizations and institutions in a manner that does not infringe on the rights of others or interfere with the mission of the University.
Freedom from Discrimination Students who are otherwise qualified have the right to participate fully in the University community without discrimination as defined by federal, state and local law.
Environment Students have the right to be treated fairly with respect and dignity at all times. Every member of the community; faculty, administration and student alike, has the right to courteous and professional conduct in interactions with all other members of the community.
Safety Students have the right to an environment that is conducive to learning and without unreasonable concerns for personal safety. Behavior which is intimidating, threatening or hostile to individuals or groups, is therefore regarded as a serious offense. Abusive or harassing behavior, verbal or physical, which demeans, threatens or injures another - is subject to University Disciplinary Action. (See Undergraduate Disciplinary Procedures)
Discipline Students who are subject to University Disciplinary action have the right to be treated with fundamental fairness. (See Undergraduate Disciplinary Procedures)
Privacy Students have the right to have their educational records maintained on a confidential basis by the University, in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. (FERPA)
Disabilities Students who are otherwise qualified to attend the University have the right to reasonable accommodation of their physical or learning disabilities as provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
High Quality Resources Students have the right to educational resources which may be furnished by the University to support intellectual and social development.
Advisement Students have the right to receive advice in making various education related decisions. This includes career planning, and personal and academic advisement.
Prompt Response from Administration Students have the right to prompt and courteous responses to their reasonable inquiries to the University’s academic and administrative departments.
Academic and Administrative Policies Students have the right to academic and administrative policies that support intellectual inquiry, learning and growth, as well as the proper functioning of the University. The University strives to have all student policies, both academic and administrative, accessible to all students at all reasonable times.
Responsibilities of Undergraduate Students
The exercise and preservation of these rights requires respect for the rights of all others in the community. Undergraduate students enrolled in Yeshiva University assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner that is civil and in accordance with the University’s function as an educational institution and performance of its mission. Students are therefore expected to exhibit responsible behavior regardless of time, place, and medium.
Yeshiva University is a community that has always prided itself on the high standards of behavior and scholarship to which all members are held. To fulfill its function and mission, the University retains the power to maintain order within the University and discipline those who are disruptive of the educational process or fail to abide by the University’s rules and regulations.
Responsible behavior includes, but is not limited to, the following obligations:
To abide by the highest ethical and moral standards.
To know and abide by all University policies, rules and regulations listed in the University publications and websites, as well as the responsibilities set forth in this Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. To abide by all federal, state and local laws.
To refrain from possession of any dangerous, harmful or illegal articles or substances.
To respect the health and safety of others. Acts or threats of physical violence to any other person or exposing others to dangerous conditions are expressly forbidden. Violators are subject to University Disciplinary Action.
To respect the property of the University or others. To refrain from stealing, damaging, defacing, or misusing property or facilities of the University or others. University property and facilities should be preserved for enjoyment and use by other members of the University community. This also applies to University computing services. (See ITS University Handbook for Students, yu.edu/ITS/policies)
To be honest and truthful in all dealings with the University and its community. This includes, but is not limited to, being truthful about oneself, one’s work product, and other members of the University community.
To comply with the directions of any member of the faculty, administration or staff of the University or any person acting on behalf of the University who is acting within the scope of his or her authority.
To respect the privacy and integrity of University facilities. Students may not enter without permission any private office of a faculty or staff member or any building or facility not normally open to the public. Students may not remain in any building or facility after being directed to leave by any faculty or staff member or other authorized University agent.
To respect each other’s personal rights and dignity and to refrain from conduct that infringes on the rights of others.
To comply with all provisions of the University’s Code of Academic Integrity as well as the academic integrity codes adopted by the faculties and/or departments of individual schools. (See Academic Integrity Handbook)
To contribute to, and maintain, a respectful and tolerant learning environment.
To respect the educational process and the peaceful and orderly conduct of classes, lectures and meetings. To respect the right of any person, including invited speakers, to express his or her views without interference or disruption.
To respect the needs and wishes of others by maintaining a reasonable degree of quiet in University housing, libraries and similar facilities.
Failure to live up to these student responsibilities may result in the imposition of University Disciplinary Action. (See Undergraduate Disciplinary Procedures)
Undergraduate Student Disciplinary Procedures
Yeshiva University undergraduate students are expected and required to abide by the policies, rules and regulations established by the University including, but not limited to, what is stated in the University’s publications and websites and in the Undergraduate Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. Students are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the highest ethical and moral standards. Prohibited behavior includes acts that are dishonest, immoral or unlawful; acts that cause damage to property or harm to oneself or to others: or acts that bring discredit or shame upon the institution.
Students who violate any of these policies, rules, regulations and other requirements are subject to disciplinary action, whether the conduct occurs in any University facility, or in connection with any University - sponsored activity. In addition, students whose off campus conduct violates any of these policies, rules, regulations or other requirements may also be subject to University discipline. The University will impose appropriate sanctions which may include, but are not limited to, letters of admonition, probation, loss of privileges, and/or suspension or expulsion from University housing or from the University in general.
First Step: Informed of Allegations
A student accused of violating University policies, rules, regulations or other requirements will be notified by a University official of the specific charges against him/her within a reasonable amount of time.
The student will be asked to appear for an interview with the University- designated Hearing Office. At the interview, the student may present written material and will have the opportunity to speak on his/her own behalf. The rules of civil or criminal procedure, including the rules of evidence, will not apply. Therefore, the student will not have the right to have an attorney, parent, or other advocate present at any meeting.
Between the second & third steps:
After considering all the facts and circumstances, and consulting with the University Disciplinary Committee, it will be determined if the charges against the student have been sustained.
The determination of the University Disciplinary Committee and any sanctions to be imposed on the student are presented to the student.
The student will be notified of the determination of the University Disciplinary Committee and, within 10 days of the notification, may appeal the decision, in writing, to the Provost of Undergraduate Education or his/her designee (the “Provost”). The Provost may uphold, modify or overrule the decision of the University Disciplinary Committee and any of the resulting sanctions. The decision of the Provost is final.
Notwithstanding the Procedures set forth above, if the University reasonably believes that the continued presence of any student on campus poses a safety concern to him/herself or to others or to the reputation or operation of the University, the University may immediately suspend the student from campus, pending completion of the Procedures. In addition, harassment complaints involving students are subject to the procedures set forth in the Harassment Policy & Complaint Procedures for Students. In the event of any conflict between the Procedures set forth above and such Policy, the provisions of such Policy shall prevail.