Earlier this week, California State University and San Francisco State University agreed to settle a discrimination lawsuit with a group of pro-Israel students.
Two California universities recently agreed to settle a lawsuit with a group of pro-Israel students who alleged they were “victims of systematic anti-Semitism.” The discrimination suit was filed against California State University and San Francisco State University. As part of the settlement, which was announced earlier this week on Wednesday, the schools have “agreed to a list of demands from the students.”
What happened, though? For starters, the plaintiffs claimed in their suit that San Francisco State University “exposed Jewish students to anti-Semitism for 50 years,” including during two events that occurred in recent years, “a demonstration by pro-Palestinian groups in April 2016 that prevented then-Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat from speaking at a public event, and San Francisco Hillel’s exclusion from a February 2017 Know Your Rights fair on campus.”
Throughout the litigation process, the Lawfare Project served as the plaintiff’s co-counsel. According to the organization, San Francisco State agreed to “several steps as part of the settlement, including issuing a public statement that it understands that for many Jews, Zionism is an important part of their identity.” Additionally, the school will also “create a new position, coordinator of Jewish student life, as part of its Division of Equity & Community Inclusion, and allocate $200,000 to support educational efforts to promote viewpoint diversity, including but not limited to pro-Israel and Zionist viewpoints,” according to the settlement agreement.
On top of that, the university plans to order “independent investigations of all religious discrimination complaints, as well as conduct an external review of campus procedures related to enforcement of anti-discrimination policies and student code of conduct.”
It’s important to note that one of the main complaints of the suit involved events associated with the Know Your Rights fair at California State University. According to the plaintiff’s, “San Francisco Hillel was blocked from taking part in the event after initially being invited to participate.” The students argued that by preventing them from participating they were discriminated against. The suit stated, “the decision to exclude Hillel from the event was made, and then sanctioned by high-ranking university officials.” Additionally, it cited “total lack of follow up from [SFSU President Les Wong] or other university officials as evidence of systematic discrimination” and accused California State University and Chancellor Timothy White of “inaction while the campus climate for Jews in fact deteriorated.”
Following the settlement announcement earlier this week, San Francisco State University issued the following statement:
“The university issued a statement on the settlement that read in part: “The settlement emphasizes the importance of improving student experiences and student lives. It allows SF State to reiterate its commitment to equity and inclusion for all – including those who are Jewish – and reaffirms the values of free expression and diversity of viewpoints that are so critical on a university campus.”