Student Newspaper Essay About One-Night Stand Sparks Weeklong Uproar at New York’s Yeshiva University

An erotic essay about a one-night stand recently published in an Orthodox Jewish university’s student newspaper has caused controversy on campus and led two editors to resign.  The fallout was first reported late this week by David Wilensky in New Voices and is currently a story in The New York Times and within other national media.

The piece, published in The YU Beacon at Manhattan’s Yeshiva University, is a chronological account of one female student’s tryst with a male classmate and the shame that accompanies it the next morning.  It is anonymous and appears in a section of the Beacon featuring “literary expression,” meaning it may be semi or fully fictional.

As one portion reads, “My partner in crime improvises with the room key as a bottle opener and we gorge ourselves on Stella Artois and cable television.  In between swigs, I glance over at him; my cheeks are flushed and my head feels lighter with every drop.  Making him think I’m farther gone than I actually am helps me shut off my conscience when I kiss him hard on the mouth.  That little pest of a conscience is screaming again when he starts taking off my dress, so I shut her up with a last gulp of beer.”

Overall, as the Times reports, its explicitness has angered the conservative school’s “religious students who consider premarital sex– not just the act but even talking openly about it– well beyond the acceptable bounds of modesty.”

When the firestorm first sparked, as Wilensky wrote, there was speculation the university would sever its ties to the paper.  Staff have since decided to proactively end the affiliation, losing $500 in related funding.  The news editor and a co-editor-in-chief also quit.

The Beacon‘s remaining EIC Simi Lampert is standing by the essay, reminding YU students, staff, and alums that while the topic might strike some as sacrilegious, sex is a part of some YU students’ lives: “To all those upset by the article, I apologize.  But I do not regret the decision to post it.  This is the reason the Beacon was founded in the first place– to be a platform for every student, not just the majority.”

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