`Yale Five' Suit Dismissed By Conn. Judge

Students vow appeal after court rejects complaints

The Yale Five have failed to overcome the first hurdle in their battle to change Yale University's housing policy.

A federal judge in Connecticut dismissed a lawsuit against Yale brought by four Orthodox Jewish undergraduates who alleged a policy requiring students to live in coed dormitories violated their civil rights.

The four students--dubbed the "Yale Five"--announced Friday they would appeal the ruling by Judge Alfred V. Covello '54.

"The dormitory arrangements at Yale run counter to my strongly-held religious convictions," said sophomore Elisha D. Hack, one of the four students, in a statement.

Coed bathrooms and mixed-sex dormitories violate Orthodox Jewish rules on chastity and modesty, the students said.

Covello's July 31 ruling, made public Friday, did not address the discrimination allegations, instead finding that Yale was not covered by federal civil rights statutes because it is not a "government actor."

The judge also dismissed the students' allegations that Yale held monopoly power in the student housing market, saying students could have gone to another comparable university.

The ruling also found Yale was not in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as the plaintiffs had argued, because it had not denied the students housing based on their religion.

One of the students' lawyers, Rick Garnett, said the judge's ruling does not resolve the fundamental discrimination claim. His clients plan to file an appeal, probably this week, he said.

In the meantime, the students will continue to violate Yale policy by living off-campus, prolonging a dispute which began almost a year ago.

Unacceptable Accommodations

Yale students are required to live on campus during their first and second yearsunder a housing policy implemented in 1995.Previously, only first-year students were requiredto live on campus.

All students are randomly assigned to one oftwelve residential colleges, analogous toHarvard's Houses, before matriculation. Moststudents live in dormitories similar to first-yearaccommodations in Harvard Yard for their firstyear. They then move into their assigned colleges.

Married students and students over 21 areallowed to request exemptions to the residencyrequirement.

Floors housing first-years are segregated bygender, with designated single-sex bathrooms. Butsophomores living in the residential collegesuites may share bathrooms with the oppositegender, said Yale spokesperson Tom Conroy.