Photo Credit: Bex Walton
Washington Square Park

Last October, three NYU juniors – Bella Ingber, Sabrina Maslavi, and Saul Tawil – were participating in a silent vigil supporting Israel in Washington Square Park. The students, who lead a pro-Israel campus group called Students Supporting Israel, reported witnessing disturbing actions from other students and faculty members. These actions included burning an Israeli flag, making throat-slitting gestures, and shouting “Gas the Jews” at Jewish students.


In response to these events and what they describe as an ongoing hostile environment, the three students filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against NYU in November. Their complaint accused the university of inadequately addressing widespread antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiment on campus. The plaintiffs argued that this atmosphere has compromised their sense of safety and impeded their equal access to educational opportunities at the university.

NYU and the student plaintiffs on Tuesday announced that they “have agreed to a settlement of the case, under which NYU has committed to take groundbreaking measures to address antisemitism, including in the wake of the October 7, 2023 terrorist attack and ensuing violence in the Middle East.”

“These actions align with and strengthen NYU’s existing measures to safeguard its community’s Jewish and Israeli students and others who may experience discrimination or harassment,” said NYU President Linda Mills, adding, “We are committed to continuing our vigorous efforts to confront discrimination, including antisemitism, and the settlement in this litigation is yet another step in this direction.”

As part of that commitment, and consistent with NYU’s existing Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy (NDAH), which incorporates the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, NYU, which takes seriously all allegations of discrimination, confirms that NYU treats all allegations of discrimination against Jews and Israelis in the same manner that it treats conduct prohibited under Title VI and other civil rights statutes when directed at other protected groups.

The university will also pay an undisclosed amount of money as part of the settlement, and create a new Title VI Coordinator position—among the first major universities in the country to do so––to make sure all allegations of discrimination and harassment are responded to consistently and adequately.

A legal case at Columbia University, initiated by a Jewish student, reached a resolution last June. As part of the settlement, the university agreed to implement several measures:

1. Appoint a “safe passage liaison” to serve as a point of contact for students who have safety concerns related to protests on campus.

2. Create a new academic accommodation process to allow students to complete assignments or exams they were unable to finish due to disruptions caused by demonstration activities.

These provisions aim to address concerns about campus safety and ensure that protest activities do not interfere with students’ academic progress.

The Office for Civil Rights within the federal Education Department has begun addressing complaints of discrimination at several universities. These complaints involve allegations of antisemitism, as well as anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bias. The institutions under scrutiny include:

Brown University
City University of New York (CUNY)
University of Michigan
Lafayette College

In response, the department has reached agreements with these universities. The terms of these agreements typically require the institutions to:

1. Enhance their investigative processes for discrimination and harassment complaints
2. Improve staff training on how to properly handle such allegations
3. Implement additional measures to address bias-related issues on campus

These actions aim to create more inclusive and responsive campus environments, ensuring that all students are protected from discrimination regardless of their background or beliefs.

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