One of the three plaintiffs claims that he was intimidated and verbally assaulted by pro-Palestine demonstrators on or near New York University campus. However, N.Y.U. administrators purportedly failed to take action, instead referring him to a telephone hotline.
Three Jewish students have filed a lawsuit against New York University, claiming that it has failed to enforce its own anti-discrimination polices.
According to CNN, the lawsuit was filed earlier this week on behalf Bella Ingber, Sabrina Maslavi, and Saul Tawil. All three plaintiffs are juniors at N.Y.U.
In their complaint, they say that the university has created a hostile educational environment, subjecting Jewish students to “pervasive acts of hatred, discrimination, harassment, and intimidation,” in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Attorneys for the students say that there has been a “steadily increasing incident of antisemitic attacks at N.Y.U.” over the course of the past decade.
Some students have allegedly been “forced to run a campus gauntlet of verbal and physical harassment, threats, and intimidation,” with the lawsuit asserting that their concerns have been “ignored, slow-walked, or met with gaslighting by N.Y.U. administrators.”
The lawsuit suggests that, since Israel began its bombardment of Gaza in October, the university administration has been largely dismissive of Jewish students’ complaints. It provides several examples. On October 17th, for instance, Tawil was returning on his bicycle from a “demonstration” in Washington Square Park when he saw several other people facing a “screaming woman” on the steps of a campus building. He stopped and tried to de-escalate the situation, but was confronted by men wearing keffiyehs, whose body language made it seem “as if they were going to attack.”
“Tawil moved behind a truck on the sidewalk to videotape the harassment,” the lawsuit says. “One of the men approached Tawil, screamed that “you have my f——- face on film,’ and forced him to open his phone’s camera roll and delete the video.”
“Tawil did so, and the man then yelled in Tawil’s face, ‘get the f—- out of here you dirty f—— Jew.’ Tawil got on his bike and fled,” it states.
While Tawil immediately reported the incident to campus security—and later met with an investigator—he was told there was nothing that N.Y.U. could do, and referred him to a hotline for people experiencing emotional challenges.
Nevertheless, university administrators have since said that the lawsuit does not accurately reflect the school’s polices, procedures, and values.
“We take issues of antisemitism and any other forms of hate extremely seriously, and we are committed to safeguarding our community and providing an environment in which all students can live and learn in peace,” N.Y.U. spokesperson John Beckman said in a statement. “N.Y.U. was among the first universities in the U.S. to publicly condemn Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel.”
Beckman added that more New York City police officers have been deployed to campus since the October 7th attacks in Israel.
“N.Y.U. has promptly reviewed and opened investigations into reported complaints of antisemitism and related misconduct,” Beckman said. “N.Y.U. looks forward to setting the record straight, to challenging this lawsuit’s one-sided narrative, to making clear the many efforts of N.Y.U. has made to combat antisemitism and provide a safe environment for Jewish students and non-Jewish students, and to prevailing in court.”