Bar Ilan University, ostensibly an Orthodox-religious institution, has caved in to “politically correct” pressure and allowed a “gay pride” event to be held in the campus's central square in honor of “gay pride month.”
"The event will take place with regard to the university's special character,” according to a statement issued Thursday.
The reversal comes just 48 hours after the institution refused to permit the event.
The head of the gay students' group at Bar Ilan, Omer Mahluf, met Tuesday with the Bar Ilan Students' Dean, Prof. Uri Nir, and filed a formal request to hold a “happening” on June 22, in the campus's central square. The group said that the event would be held in a way that respected the university's religious-Zionist character and would focus on passing out information brochures to religious students – “for many of whom, the university is one of the only life stations in which they can experience unmediated contact with homosexuals and lesbians.”
The dean made clear Tuesday that the event was forbidden, as was the passing out of written materials. The most the university was willing to agree to, he said, would be a closed session in an auditorium, with a list of speakers that had been approved by the university.
Mahluf said that there is great importance in holding a public event, because many homosexual students who are not yet at peace with their sexual orientation will otherwise be afraid to approach the activity.
The university said in response that “taking into account the university's religious character, and in view of the fact that the event the students wanted to hold is not connected to academic or studential activity, the management informed the students that it will allow an event of an academic nature to be held in one of the campus auditoriums – a panel or study day – that will deal with the relevant issues for the gay community.”
Prof. Hillel Weiss, a prominent lecturer on literature at Bar Ilan University, said Thursday that he was happy about the university's decision to veto the “gay pride” event.
Weiss told Arutz Sheva that he is proud of the university “for refusing to allow people who represent this abomination to hold their events in the open space. They are damaging humanity and the fact that someone is blocking it gives me great joy.”
Apparently, the "religious character" of the university is more pliable than it seemed to be on Tuesday, and Prof. Weiss's joy was short lived.