A whole lot of universities are now being sued for anti-Semitism on campus

December 28 – When three presidents of major universities testified before Congress at a hearing in early December about anti-Semitism on campus, their responses were lukewarm. 

They danced around the subject of Jewish students receiving death threats. 

One president – Liz Magill of the University of Pennsylvania – has been removed as president since the testimony. 

But not a lot of action has come from the boards or management of the colleges in question. 

So the students have taken the issue up themselves. A number of Jewish students are using the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to bring lawsuits against their colleges for discrimination. 

Jessica Rosenthal of Fox News said, “University of Pennsylvania and NYU had already been sued. But now Carnegie Mellon and UC Berkeley are facing lawsuits. Attorneys are going after campus officials alleging Title VI violations of the Civil Rights Act. This title says you can’t discriminate against people based on race, color or national origin if you’re receiving federal money.”

Eyal Yakoby, a student at UPenn and part of the lawsuit, said, “When there is class happening on campus and there are people with bull horns chanting Intifada, which means an armed uprising throughout campus, that is not allowed.” 

Rosenthal continued, “The Department of Education has opened multiple Title VI violation investigations at universities, including MIT, Rutgers and University of North Carolina, as well as some public school districts like Newark, New Jersey’s.”

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “What a mess. This is getting worse and worse and more money and more lawyers involved. It doesn’t have a good ending at all and it’s just getting started.”

Attorney Clint Barkdoll pointed out, “In the clip there that that students said about the disruption to the campus education, that is a very key point to this and that’s where those three university presidents ran afoul during their Congressional testimony that was so awful a few weeks ago because, yes, there’s First Amendment rights and yes, hate speech is free speech, but those rules don’t apply if you’re disrupting the campus rules, so to speak. So like at Penn, similar situations, those protests were interrupting and interfering with student’s ability to go to and from their classes. In some cases, there was evidence that it was actually disrupting the teacher’s ability to instruct the class because the protests outside were so disruptive, and that’s where these lawsuits might get some traction under Title VI. There are discrimination provisions and they talk specifically about anyone engaging in conduct that’s interfering with your ability to receive your education, even if what that protester is doing might otherwise be protected by free speech.”

There are more lawsuits being filed every day. 

Barkdoll said, “This is likely the kind of scenario, so many of them are getting filed, a court might consolidate all of them into one proceeding so that there’s just a consistent ruling that will apply to all of these colleges around America.”

Ryan noted, “Remember we saw the Jewish students locked into either a library or the cafeteria while they’re banging on the windows outside in protest (at New York University). So not only can the students sue the university, but can they then open up let’s see these faces of these people that were threatening them? Are they open to some sort of civil penalties and civil lawsuits as well?”

Barkdoll confirmed, “Yes, they absolutely could be. Again, the theory of the case being that they engaged in conduct that interfered with the health, safety and welfare of these other students and specifically interfered with the ability of these other students to access their education, whether that was instruction in the classroom, or being able to study in the library. That video from a few weeks ago, dozens of those students had to be locked in a room in the library because they were fearful of what these protesters might do.”

Ryan said, “Get the video cameras out. Good. And make sure you have a conversation with your kiddos and your grandkiddos in these universities here. It could be opening up you for some sort of civil penalties and lawsuits.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM asked, “How about criminal penalties if you physically threaten somebody? There are, of course, representatives in our federal government who are saying we need to pull the federal money from any of these institutions who are doing this. With these lawsuits, buoy them into that effort where we say it’s just ridiculous. It’s completely out of control. We’re going to hit you with as they call it, the nuclear option at least Education Week calls it, of taking federal money away from any of these places that will not control this.”

Barkdoll said, “It’s an interesting thought. Now, I don’t think this lawsuit would impact that, although that is the kind of issue that Congress could separately address. There are only a handful of colleges and universities in the country that do not accept any federal money because you think about student loans by and large or federal and that’s why every college and university indirectly is receiving federal money.” 

CNBC reported yesterday that roughly 40 percent of all federal student loan borrowers did not make a payment when repayments restarted in October. It’s now being called a massive student debt strike.

Barkdoll said, “It’s not clear what the federal government’s going to do about it. You’re talking about millions and millions of people that are refusing to pay those student loans. There becomes a very practical, logistical problem here. How do you get your arms around a group that big to try to start enforcing this? It is a real problem at the federal level.”

Jansen said, “It’s the same as immigration. I mean, this is ridiculous. They’re incentivizing them. Joe Biden, going around the Supreme Court decision and offering all this money to so many is an incentive for the rest of them to look at that and say, hey, we’re not going to be punished. It looks like he’s trying really hard to get rid of our student loans like he promised us he would. These young, odd people that don’t understand that they made an obligation to pay these things and they’re stealing from other people when they don’t pay them, but no, no, Joe has got us covered. He’s going to keep expanding the definitions. So why would they pay? The government, Biden’s administration are creating these problems. We can’t get our hands around the illegals now because millions have been let in. We can’t get our hands around these students now because hundreds of thousands of them have been given a guarantee of loan payments and the rest think they’re going to get the same. The Biden administration is making policy decisions that are incentivizing this behavior.”

Barkdoll said, “I am really curious to see, what does the Department of Education do about this? I mean, in theory, you would bring enforcement actions against these delinquent borrowers, and that could even be ranging to getting a judgment and doing wage attachments. But when you’ve now got a mass of millions and millions of these borrowers in that category, I don’t know practically how the Department of Education pulls it off. I think it’s a story that you’re going to see getting a lot more attention in the months to come because on one hand, no doubt that’s contributing to this problem, but on the other hand, I don’t think the federal government can just take well, nothing we can do about, just don’t let them pay because if they take that approach, then I think the 60 percent that that are paying, well, they’re going to just stop paying, too, and then suddenly, you’re going to have virtually no one repaying these loans.”

Jansen asked, “Why wouldn’t taxpayers just say, you know what? We’re going on strike, too. Go ahead, try to get all of us.” 

Ryan added, “What about the tens of thousands of IRS agents that you’re thinking about hiring? Why don’t you sic them on those and find out where you are working? What are you doing? Let’s take a good hard look at you. If you don’t want to pay back the piece of paper you signed and you made a deal to pay back, you’re not going to get that? Knock, knock, knock. Okay, here’s your IRS guys, instead of going after small potato people that are struggling every single day to pay their taxes.”

Barkdoll said, “Hey, maybe the government would repurpose or reassign those IRS agents to go after something like this. But you’re touching on again, another practical problem here. You would need to hire a force of thousands if not tens of thousands of federal workers and agents to enforce and go after these millions of delinquent borrowers. I mean, it is just a total mess and it’s going to be interesting to see what the solution is.”