New York University (NYU) has been sued by three Jewish students for allegedly failing to protect them against "festering Jewish hatred permeating the school."
Bella Ingber, Sabrina Maslavi and Saul Tawil accused the university of "egregious civil rights violations" by allegedly allowing students to chant antisemitic phrases like "gas the Jews" and "Hitler was right."
In a lawsuit filed at Manhattan district court, the students claimed antisemitism had been a "growing institutional problem" at NYU even before the war between Israel and Hamas began last month.
The lawsuit also alleges Jewish students' complaints are "ignored, slow-walked, or met with gaslighting" by NYU administrators.
According to the lawsuit, university president Linda Mills this month dismissed a petition from 4,000 NYU members expressing concern about antisemitism.
The three students in the lawsuit urge NYU to terminate employees and suspend or expel students responsible for antisemitic abuse and pay compensatory and punitive damages.
In one instance, Ingber and Maslavi said that while attending a silent vigil on 17 October supporting Israel, they saw nearby faculty and student members of on-campus pro-Palestinian groups burn an Israeli flag, make "slit-your-throat" gestures toward Jewish students and scream epithets.
Tawil said NYU gave him the run-around when he sought help after being harassed on the street following the vigil, with a campus safety official saying security had already been beefed up following a surge in anti-Asian violence in 2021 and 2022.
Marc Kasowitz, a lawyer for the three students, said in a statement: "NYU's deliberate indifference toward the plight of its Jewish students under siege by egregious antisemitism has been outrageous.”
Ingber and Tawil enrolled in 2021 whilst Maslavi enrolled at the institution two months ago.
NYU, which has more than 65,000 students across 20 schools and colleges, said they took antisemitism and other forms of hate "extremely seriously”.
In a statement, they added: "NYU looks forward to setting the record straight, to challenging this lawsuit's one-sided narrative, to making clear the many efforts NYU has made to combat antisemitism and provide a safe environment for Jewish students and non-Jewish students, and to prevailing in court.”