A group of students and local Jewish community members are suing San Francisco State University for anti-Semitism.

The Lawsuit

An NGO comprised of students and local Jewish community members, is suing San Francisco State University for anti-Semitism. The lawsuit states that the university “has a long and extensive history of cultivating anti-Semitism and overt discrimination against Jewish students,” leading Jewish students to being afraid of wearing “Stars of David or yarmulkes on campus.”

“SFSU and its administrators have knowingly fostered this discrimination… which has been marked by violent threats to the safety of Jewish students on campus.”

What Triggered This?

This was triggered after police officers and top administrators in the university were suspected to be complicit in the disruption of a speech in April 2016 by Nir Barakat, the Mayor of Jerusalem.

The audience and the Jewish students were allegedly “subjected to genocidal and offensive chants and expletives by a raging mob that used bullhorns to intimidate and drown out the Mayor’s speech and physically threaten and intimidate members of the mostly-Jewish audience.”

The NGO noted that “no actions were ever taken by SFSU against the disruptive students, no disciplinary charges were ever filed, and no sanctions were ever imposed against the groups or students responsible for committing these acknowledged violations.” 

The project Director, Brooke Goldstein, said:

“It is time for profound institutional change at SFSU,” she said. “And since the faculty and administration is entirely unwilling to pursue such a goal, Jewish victims… have been left with no choice but to ask a federal court to compel it.”

The University on the Suit

According to local media reports, the university counsel, Daniel Ojeda said that the lawsuit wouldn’t stop the university’s currently ongoing dialogue between the Jewish community and others.

Ojeda issued a statement, saying: “The university disagrees with the allegations in the complaint, but we have not had a sufficient opportunity to review or respond to it.

“We have been working closely with the Jewish community, among other interest groups, to address concerns and improve the campus environment for all students. Those efforts have been very productive and will continue
notwithstanding this lawsuit.”

An external investigator noted that the chanting at the speech did violate the school’s policies and interrupted the event. However, it did say that “there were no direct threats of imminent violence that would have justified police intervention, specifically arrest and removal from the area.”

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