Victory: ACLJ Helps Ensure Jewish Student Is Allowed To Wear Expressive Apparel in Support of Israel


Olivia Summers

February 20

The ACLJ recently secured a victory on behalf of a Jewish student at the State University of New York (SUNY).

Back in November 2023, a Jewish student was summoned by the dean of one of the schools to a meeting because a complaint had been made about her. That complaint was that the student had worn an “IDF” T-shirt to class. Her decision to wear the T-shirt in support of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) came after many of her fellow classmates wore similarly expressive clothing to class in support of Hamas or Gaza. None of the other students, however, had been similarly criticized or requested by the dean to attend a meeting because of their clothing choices, so the student reached out to the ACLJ for assistance.

After hearing the details of her case, we took immediate action on her behalf. Via phone, we attended the meeting with our client and the dean of the school, and we explained our client’s right to equal treatment, including the ability to wear expressive material in the classroom – especially since the school had no dress code requirements pertaining to symbols, flags, or political speech.

The school quickly understood our position and agreed that our client was free to wear her IDF T-shirt to class and that she should not have been singled out by the school and reprimanded. Subsequently, the dean met with the other students our client identified to the school as having worn expressive apparel in support of Hamas and Gaza, as well as the entire first-year class. The dean ensured that every student was aware of the school’s desire to keep politics out of the classroom as much as possible, but also that no dress code existed, nor would one be adopted.

We are pleased the school acted so swiftly to remedy the situation and that it agreed there had been no wrongdoing on the part of our client. As a result, our client is free to continue expressing her viewpoints, including her support of Israel, and attend classes without issue.

The ACLJ has successfully represented other clients at SUNY, and elsewhere, seeking to exercise their First Amendment rights. If you have a similar issue, please contact us immediately at