Victory: After ACLJ Demand, Stanford University Removes Anti-Semitic RA to Prevent Discrimination | American Center for Law and Justice
  Search  |  Login  |  Register

ACLJ Profile Completion

Verified

Stanford Removes Anti-Semitic RA

By Stuart J. Roth1533654541474

On Friday, July 20th, a rising junior at Stanford University with a documented history of making anti-Israel and anti-Semitic statements on social media posted an expletive-laced tirade on Facebook directly threatening physical violence against fellow students and community members at Stanford who might dare to disagree with his views:

Tweet

Incredibly enough, this student was set to be a Resident Advisor (RA) at one of the Stanford dormitories. An RA is responsible for the wellbeing of other students on campus, and is supposed to, among other things, “create a residential environment in which all views (popular and unpopular) can be voiced, hear respectfully, and fully explored.” Obviously, aside from any punitive considerations for making violent threats, this person was simply not qualified to hold an RA position.

We were retained by a Stanford undergraduate student on behalf of himself and others who had been directly impacted by these threats, and on August 2, we sent a letter to Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne explaining that while we firmly believe in the freedom of speech, there is no freedom to threaten others.  Our letter explained that in addition to the harmful effect that the threatening statements have already had on members of the Stanford community, the actions of the student in question were also in direct violation of non-discrimination laws, and the University’s own policies.

After two weeks of inaction, the very next day after we delivered our letter, Stanford released a statement reiterating the fact that threats of physical violence have absolutely no place in the Stanford community, and that the threatening student had agreed to step down from his position as an RA and begin psychological treatment.

While we are happy with the outcome, it is still somewhat disturbing that it took two weeks, and pressure from outside groups like the ACLJ, for Stanford to substantively respond to the public posting of a violent threat. Even setting aside the supervisory aspect of an RA it is hard to imagine any job in which a person could threaten physical violence against community members and still keep their position. Had the student in question threatened other vulnerable communities, undoubtedly the response would have been quicker and condemning.

Threats of violence should always be taken seriously, especially a threat of physical violence made because a student does not like the ‘ethnosupremacy’ of a “Jewish state.” It is important to note that, according to a recent report by the FBI, the majority of religiously motivated hate crimes in the United States were committed against Jewish people – and this despite Jews making up less than 2% of the population. In fact, since the FBI began reporting these statistics in 1993, there has not been a single year in which Jewish people were not the victims of the majority of religiously motivated hate crimes.

Ultimately, it is up to the university administration to decide if the student should be removed from campus entirely for having violated the Stanford Fundamental Standard (violation of which “will be sufficient cause for removal of the university”). That was not the purpose of our letter though, or of our representation. All we asked for, and received, was that the rights of our client, and of countless other students, be respected. Stanford University must support, among other things, the right of all students to physical safety in their dormitories and campus environment, and their right to speak freely and respectfully without fear of violent repercussions from University employees and authority figures.

We sincerely hope that the student has learned from his mistakes and from this experience, but regardless of whether he is or is not sorry, serving as an RA is a privilege that comes with responsibilities and expectations. It is inescapably clear that someone who has made these kinds of threatening statements is not fit to be an RA, and we applaud the fact that the University seems to have finally recognized this fact and issued a statement reiterating its commitment to a non-discriminatory campus environment.

This article is co-authored by Special Counsel to the ACLJ Mark Goldfeder.

Protect Jewish Students on Campus

Israel  Signatures

LOGIN

Receive the latest news, updates, and contribution opportunities from ACLJ.

$20
$40
$60
$120
$240
Make this a monthly tax-deductible gift.

We're defending Israel, protecting Jewish students from radical attacks, winning cases, and stopping boycotts. Stand with us with your gift.

Email Address is required.
First Name is required.
Last Name is required.
Credit Card Number is required.
Verification Code is required.
Expiration Month is required.
Expiration Year is required.
Receive the latest news, updates, and contribution opportunities from ACLJ.
Encourage your friends to sign and donate by sharing this petition.
Latest in
Israel

Grim Report Shows Violent Anti-Semitism is Rising

By Jordan Sekulow1560875370264

Vile anti-Semitism is on the rise in America. It shouldn’t be surprising when our leaders in Washington spew anti-Israel, anti-Jewish sentiment without repercussions. A recent report revealed that 60% of the hate crimes committed in New York City alone targeted Jewish people. And that’s just...

read more

JSL: Tlaib: “Calming Feeling” When Thinking of Holocaust

By Jay Sekulow1557781319723

Any time there’s a major flare-up of anti-Semitism, you’re going to hear about it here. Particularly as unchecked anti-Semitism is running rampant in Congress from the likes of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). On today’s broadcast, we discussed Freshman Representative Rashida...

read more

Radio Recap: The Rise of Anti-Semitism

By Jay Sekulow1556565814289

This weekend, we were once again reminded that hateful anti-Semitism is on the rise. On today’s broadcast, we discussed multiple topics, all of which are disturbing, beginning with a shooting at a California synagogue on Saturday, the final day of Passover. The attack at Chabad of Poway Synagogue...

read more

JSL: Iran Revolutionary Guard Is a Terrorist Organization

By Jay Sekulow1554753922206

In another historic move by the Trump Administration, the United States continues to build it’s “maximum pressure” campaign against the Iranian regime by announcing the official designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. On today’s broadcast, we discussed President...

read more