Jewish students, professors file complaint asserting CUNY is ‘pervasively hostile’ and anti-Semitic

A new complaint filed with the Department of Education against the City University of New York (CUNY) charges that the school has become a “pervasively hostile environment for Jewish students.”

Filed on Tuesday by the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), the complaint follows accusations of antisemitism at CUNY campuses aired during a New York City Council hearing on the issue last month. The complaint alleges the school is guilty of violations of the Civil Rights Act.

“Some of the harassment on CUNY campuses has become so commonplace as to almost be normalized,” the complaint by the American Center for Law & Justice in Washington, DC asserted. It cites a lengthy list of harassment incidents going back to 2013.

Some of the incidents cited include Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn where a Jewish professor “found swastikas carved into the door and her keyboard drenched in urine.” Another Jewish professor from Israel was unbelievably asked how many people she had killed.

The New York Post is reporting that it’s not just students guilty of hateful actions against Jews. A former interim president carped that there were “too many Jews” present in the school’s faculty.

In 2016, students at Brooklyn College stormed a faculty council meeting “to demand the removal of all Zionists from campus,” according to the complaint. Students reportedly called the council’s chairman, who was wearing a yarmulke, a “Zionist pig.”

In May of 2021, a John Jay College student posted a picture of Adolf Hitler on Instagram. The attendant message stated, “We need another Hitler today,” the complaint noted.

CUNY’s Law Student Government Association also passed a resolution to ban Hillel and other Jewish institutions from campus. Faculty at the law school actually voted to endorse the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel while they were at it, according to the New York Post.

In June, the city council heard testimony concerning anti-Semitism at CUNY. Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez was criticized when he decided to not attend the hearing.

CUNY claims that the school has “consistently and strongly condemned all forms of bigotry and discrimination, including anti-Semitism.”

“Every day the University engages in efforts to combat anti-Semitism, violence, hate, racism, and intolerance of any kind within our campus communities. This is important but hard, never-ending work, and we are always learning new ways to improve our efforts,” a CUNY spokesman said.

According to CBS News, it has gotten so bad at the university, Jewish students and professors are afraid to return in the fall.

When Professor Jeffrey Lax goes to the CUNY Kingsborough campus, where he’s the Business Department chair, he does not wear his yarmulke.

“I do not want to be targeted. That’s the reason,” Lax told CBS News. “I wish I could just do my job.”

A few years ago when some fellow faculty members learned he was Jewish and Zionist, he was allegedly threatened over it.

“It is a religious belief for me and for many other people,” Lax commented. “And they admitted they had events on a Friday night to make sure Orthodox Jews — me — couldn’t come.”

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission verified his claims last year, but Lax claims that CUNY has still not addressed the hostile work environment.

Dozens of students and professors have similar claims.

“Graduate student, um, starts telling me that Jews control the world, that they, um, kill babies, that they own all banks,” Tzvia Waronker, a student at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told CBS News.

Waronker charged CUNY John Jay’s campus told her comments like that were not considered to be antisemitism.

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