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Jewish Student Sues Columbia University of Discrimination After Being Booted from Academic Program

A Jewish student at Columbia University has filed a lawsuit against the institution, alleging discrimination and a hostile environment due to rampant antisemitism following events on October 7.

Allegations of Antisemitism

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Columbia University has come under fire as allegations of antisemitism surface, with reports of hostile incidents and discrimination targeting Jewish students on campus.

Campus Environment

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Following October 7, Columbia University has become a “cesspool of antisemitism and Jew hatred,” with instances of pro-Hamas demonstrations, verbal and physical attacks against Jewish students, and a general atmosphere of hostility towards the Jewish community, said Brooke Goldstein, executive director of The Lawfare Project, a legal advocacy organization representing plaintiff and orthodox Jew Mackenzie Forrest.

Organized Events

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“We’ve seen pro-Hamas mobs run rampant on campus, blocking the entrance to classrooms, celebrating the terrorist attacks,” she added.

“We’ve seen the school tolerate genocidal chants, calling for the elimination of Jews and the Jewish state. There’s been verbal attacks, physical attacks against students.”

Student Concerns

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Mackenzie Forrest, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, expressed safety concerns as a Jewish student on campus, citing instances of violence, protests, and harassment targeting Jewish individuals.

Denied Accommodations

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Forrest’s request to complete coursework remotely over Zoom due to safety concerns was denied, with the university allegedly dismissing her concerns and refusing to provide necessary accommodations.

She was told that she “is the only person feeling unsafe,” the complaint said.

Discriminatory Practices

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Despite no indication of unsatisfactory performance, Forrest claims she was forced to leave her academic program due to “fabricated reasons”, as per Goldstein, threatening her academic progress and future prospects.

Violation of Rights

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The lawsuit accuses Columbia University of violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and New York human rights law, which guarantees equal access to education facilities and protection from discrimination.

Legal Action

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The plaintiff’s legal team is seeking injunctive relief to compel Columbia University to address and combat antisemitism on campus, along with punitive measures to hold the institution accountable for its alleged discriminatory practices.

Unique Experience of Antisemitism

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Legal advocates emphasize the distinct nature of antisemitism on college campuses and reject comparisons to other forms of discrimination, asserting the need for targeted interventions to address the specific challenges faced by Jewish students.

Demand for Accountability

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Calls for accountability are growing, with demands for consequences for those within the university administration who have allegedly tolerated or facilitated antisemitic discrimination.

Legal Strategy

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The lawsuit argues that Columbia University has breached its contractual obligations and engaged in deceptive practices regarding the safety and inclusivity of its campus environment.

Seeking Reform

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In addition to legal remedies, the lawsuit seeks reforms within Columbia University to address systemic issues and ensure the protection of Jewish students from discrimination and harassment.

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