Colleges continue to face pressure to curb anti-Semitism on campuses – this time from lawsuits

December 27 – Students on college campuses who face anti-Semitism are fighting back – legally. 

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars all federally funded programs, institutions and activities from intentionally treating individuals worse because of their race, color or national origin. 

Students are using that to sue universities where they have experienced anti-Semitism. 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “A law firm representing one UPenn senior also expects to file more cases against schools including Harvard and Columbia.”

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “This case is very much still active. A lot of these Jewish student union groups on these campuses say they don’t feel safe and they don’t feel that the schools are doing enough to protect them. That’s where they’re invoking this federal law that may give them some traction to go after the universities.”

There has been increasing pressure to fire the president of Harvard for her testimony in Congress on the anti-Semitism on her campus. 

Barkdoll said, “So far, the board does not seem to be taking any action to do so. But you’re seeing more and more calls for Harvard to get rid of her as these student groups continue to say that their continued presence and tenure as a president is just unacceptable. Most of those schools are now closed. They close for at least two or three weeks over Christmas. We’ll see when they reconvene, do these boards get reengaged and make an effort to fire them?”

Ryan suggested, “When it comes to UPenn, I don’t want to hear any money coming out of any of their bank accounts. Take it out of their endowments. You’re going to need lawyers, you’re going to need defense, take it out of the endowments and not the general fund.” 

“I would agree with that as well,” Barkdoll said. “I don’t know if they have insurance policies that may cover some of this. I read some of the reports about these lawsuits, these students have very high profile, competent lawyers that specialize in these areas that are bringing these suits and these lawyers really think that there’s an angle here that they could get some relief against the schools.”