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NYU Law probes harassment complaints as Jewish students report feeling unsafe, vilified

NYU Law administrators are investigating complaints of discrimination and harassment filed by Jewish students in the wake of a memo defending Palestinian attacks against Israelis sent on the law school’s listserv.

“NYU and NYU Law vehemently reject and condemn anti-Semitism; it has no place in our community. Several complaints have been filed in connection with recent dialogue among law students on a listserv,” Michael Orey, a spokesperson for NYU School of Law, told The College Fix via email.

“They are being investigated in accordance with the Law School’s policies and procedures for such matters. Any complaint of anti-Semitism submitted by a student will be investigated and, where appropriate, subject to discipline in accordance with the University’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedures for Students, as is the case for student complaints of discrimination or harassment on any other ground prohibited by that policy.”

NYU Law formally banned antisemitism in 2020 to resolve a federal civil rights complaint.

The recent controversy erupted after NYU Law’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter responded to a memo sent by Law Students for Israel that condemned recent terror attacks in Israel that have killed civilians and declared they “stand with Israel during this difficult time and defend its right to protect itself from those who wish it harm.”

Law Students for Israel argued the Middle East “is big enough for all its indigenous peoples to enjoy self-determination, security, and prosperity.”

SJP responded in part by stating that people “living under occupation have a right to resist their violent occupation. … Palestinians are not obligated to engage in racialized ‘nonviolence’ theory … as they stay trapped in the world’s largest open-air prison, or as they are brutalized and killed by Israeli state agents and settlers.”

It was co-signed by 11 student groups, including the Black Allied Law Students Association, Middle Eastern Law Students Association, Muslim Law Students Association and Women of Color Collective.

“The LSJP statement was followed by dozens of emails to the list-serv, some criticizing the statement and some defending it—and some of the defenses gave rise to further accusations of anti-Semitism and offensiveness,” reported law observer David Lat.

Gary Dreyer, president of Law Students for Israel, declined to comment to The College Fix.

Lat reports that more than 100 students have signed an open letter to NYU Law Dean Trevor Morrison to voice concern over the “hateful, alienating, and borderline antisemitic statements that members of the law school community have repeatedly and unabashedly made over … the NYU Law student list-serv.”

“Members of our community are actively made to feel unsafe, unwelcome, and vilified by people you have publicly acknowledged to represent NYU Law’s values,” the letter states.

“… The school’s ability to act on these requests will have a large impact on the extent to which we feel able to continue supporting and engaging with NYU Law. We look forward to hearing from you,” it added.

Morrison has agreed to meet with the board of the Jewish Law Students Association, Lat reported.

He also cited a memo from Morrison to the campus community that states while the law school “condemns as immoral the intentional killing of civilians” the school “does not take institutional positions on broader issues of public concern like the Israel-Palestinian conflict in general.”

The Washington Free Beacon reports that NYU may have no choice but to punish students engaged in antisemitism because the university agreed to adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward it as part of a settlement with the Department of Education’s civil rights office.

In 2020, NYU agreed to revise its nondiscrimination policy to ban “discrimination on the basis of shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics, including anti-Semitism.”

The university also pledged to “address and ameliorate discrimination and harassment based on shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics, including anti-Semitism that involves student clubs.”

MORE: Antisemitic memo defending Palestinian attacks against Israel draws scrutiny on NYU Law

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.