Students and other members of the local Jewish community allege that San Francisco State University is anti-Semitic, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.
"SFSU and its administrators have knowingly fostered this discrimination and hostile environment, which has been marked by violent threats to the safety of Jewish students on campus," reads the suit, which also names California State University's Board of Trustees and other university employees as defendants.
The suit alleges that San Francisco State has "repeatedly denied" Jewish student groups, including Hillel and the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi, equal access to campus events.
In particular, the suit accuses university administrators and police of being complicit in disruption of a speech last year by Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem. According to the suit, students and attendees were met with protesters shouting offensive chants and blaring bullhorns while school officials instructed campus police not to intervene.
"These defendants seem to believe that they are above the law, that discrimination against Jews is entirely acceptable, and that their response to criticism must go only so far as to placate Jewish donors," said Amanda Berman, director of legal affairs for the Lawfare Project, which is representing the plaintiffs, in a statement. "It is time for profound institutional change at SFSU, and since the faculty and administration is entirely unwilling to pursue such a goal, Jewish victims of this pervasively hostile environment have been left with no choice but to ask a federal court to compel it."
Daniel Ojeda, San Francisco State University's counsel, said in a statement, "The University was not aware of the complaint and has not had an opportunity to review or respond to it. We have been working closely with the Jewish community, among other interest groups, to address concerns and improve the campus environment for all students. Those efforts have been very productive and will continue notwithstanding this lawsuit."