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3 Jewish NYU students suing school for fostering antisemitism

Three students, ranging from freshman to junior, are included in the suit. They say their schoolwork has suffered.
3 Jewish NYU students suing school for fostering antisemitism
Posted at 8:17 PM, Nov 16, 2023

Antisemitism is alive and well at New York University, according to a lawsuit brought by three Jewish students. 

"The administration at NYU knows that there's a history of antisemitism on their campus, but yet have not just failed, but refused to protect Jewish students ... from the worst incidents associated with this antisemitism," said Marc Kasowitz, the attorney representing the students.

The 83-page suit alleges the school has violated the Civil Rights Act, saying the school "has fostered and fomented, this hostile environment, with students and faculty repeatedly abusing, demonizing and threatening Jewish students with impunity." 

Three students, ranging from freshman to junior, are included in the suit. They say their schoolwork has suffered and that they are mostly staying home out of fear as tensions continue to rise. 

"These are people who are confronted and have been confronted on almost a daily basis especially since Oct. 7, with threats, intimidation, in person, on the campus and on social media," said Kasowitz. 

The lawsuit alleges nearly a decade of incidents, but specifically a handful of verbal and physical ones since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.  

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The students allege professors have ended class early so students could attend anti-Israel rallies, made comments that rich Jewish donors control NYU, and both staff and students have been seen ripping down posters of Israeli hostages held by Hamas  

One allegation says Jewish students have been told "Hitler was right."

Kasowitz says there have also been a handful of physical incidents the school has done nothing about. 

"We have evidence about specific situations where students have complained to the university and to the administration. And the solution that has been proffered to them is called the wellness hotline. It is outrageous," said Kasowitz. 

Nicole Rosenberg is a Jewish student on campus who is not involved in the suit. She says while she hasn’t experienced any outright antisemitism, there is a high level of tension on campus that she’s not sure the university is doing much about. 

"I think the university has a commitment to protecting their students in whatever way that is. I don't think they need to, you know, pick a political view or side, but I think they should foster a community that's students feel comfortable sharing their identities and sharing their viewpoints," said Rosenberg.

NYU is located in the heart of downtown New York City, where parts of the school are in public places. Being a student in an area with such heightened tensions has given Rosenberg a bit of pause. 

"It's the first time I've ever been concerned about my last name. Not particularly on NYU campus, but generally just, you know, being so public about that," she said. 

The school denied Scripps News' request for an interview and in a lengthy statement said in part: "The lawsuit is replete with false claims, it paints a bogus picture of conditions on NYU’s campus and it ignores the many steps NYU has been taking to fight antisemitism and keep the campus safe." 

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