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NYU Settles Lawsuit with Jewish Students Over Virulent Campus Anti-Semitism

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By: JNS.org

New York University settled a lawsuit filed by its students, who alleged that the private academic institution in Manhattan didn’t do enough to curb Jew-hatred on campus.

The suit, which NYU settled on Monday, was “one of the earliest of the many lawsuits accusing major universities, including New York’s Columbia University, of allowing and encouraging anti-Semitism following the outbreak of war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas,” Reuters reported.

A university spokesman and a lawyer for the students—Bella Ingber, Sabrina Maslavi and Saul Tawil—said the school and students will issue a joint statement on Tuesday, according to Reuters. The students were all juniors when they filed the suit.

In a statement published on the NYU web site on Tuesday, NYU President Linda Mills said, “We are committed to continuing our vigorous efforts to confront discrimination, including anti-Semitism, and the settlement in this litigation is yet another step in this direction.”

This agreement comes in the wake of the October 7, 2023 terrorist attack and subsequent violence in the Middle East, and it seeks to strengthen NYU’s commitment to safeguarding Jewish and Israeli students, as well as others who may face discrimination or harassment.

NYU’s commitment to these measures is consistent with its Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy (NDAH), which incorporates the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. This definition provides a comprehensive framework for identifying and addressing anti-Semitic behavior.

The settlement includes confidential monetary terms, which, while undisclosed, do not detract from NYU’s obligations under the agreement. The confidentiality of these terms underscores the focus on the broader commitment to combating anti-Semitism rather than financial specifics.

One of the most notable outcomes of the settlement is the creation of a new Title VI Coordinator position at NYU. This role is among the first of its kind at major universities in the United States. Modeled after the Title IX Coordinator, who oversees compliance with sex and gender-related discrimination laws, the Title VI Coordinator will be responsible for ensuring the university’s adherence to Title VI. This includes responding adequately and consistently to allegations of discrimination and harassment based on all protected traits.

The establishment of the Title VI Coordinator position is a significant step forward in institutionalizing the fight against anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination at NYU. This role will provide a centralized and accountable office for addressing complaints, ensuring that the university’s responses are robust, consistent, and in line with federal and institutional policies.

Under the terms of the settlement, NYU has reaffirmed its stance that all allegations of discrimination against Jews and Israelis will be treated with the same seriousness as those involving other protected groups under Title VI and other civil rights statutes. This approach ensures that complaints of antisemitism receive the attention and action they deserve, reflecting the university’s broader commitment to equity and inclusion.

The statement also said that to fulfill this mandate, the Title VI Coordinator will review and implement all applicable regulations and guidance from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), including OCR’s 2021 and 2024 guidance regarding the use of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism and the accompanying examples.

Marc Kasowitz of Kasowitz Benson Torres, LLP, counsel for the plaintiffs, stated: “NYU, by entering into this historic settlement, is to be commended for taking a leading position among American universities in combating antisemitism on campus. Other universities should promptly follow their lead.”

           (JNS.org)

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