California State University agrees to landmark settlement on Jewish rights

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CSULA Student Union. Credit: Justefrain/Wikimedia Commons.

“California State University’s public recognition that Zionism is an integral part of Jewish identity represents a major victory for Jewish students at SFSU and across the country,” said Lawfare Project executive director Brooke Goldstein.

(March 20, 2019 / JNS) A landmark settlement has been reached between the California State University (CSU) public university system and the legal think Lawfare Project, and the law firm Winston & Strawn LLP, regarding a lawsuit brought by two Jewish students who allege that SFSU and the Board of Trustees of CSU discriminated against them.

As part of the deal, SFSU agreed to issue a statement affirming that “it understands that, for many Jews, Zionism is an important part of their identity;” hire and provide adequate office space for a coordinator of Jewish student life within the school’s Division of Equity & Community Inclusion; hire an outside firm to review the university’s protocols and enforcement of CSU’s anti-discrimination policies and student code of conduct; allow an outside investigation of additional complaints for two years; and allocate $200,000 to “support educational outreach efforts to promote viewpoint diversity (including but not limited to pro-Israel or Zionist viewpoints) and inclusion and equity on the basis of religious identity (including but not limited to Jewish religious identity).”

“California State University’s public recognition that Zionism is an integral part of Jewish identity represents a major victory for Jewish students at SFSU and across the country,” said Lawfare Project executive director Brooke Goldstein. “Today, we have ensured that SFSU will put in place important protections for Jewish and Zionist students to prevent continued discrimination. We are confident that this will change the campus climate for the better.”

“The Lawfare Project was proud to play a role in securing justice for Jewish and Zionist students at SFSU,” she continued. “We commend the student plaintiffs who showed the courage to stand up and advocate for their civil rights.”

“We are incredibly happy with this result,” said Ross M. Kramer of Winston & Strawn LLP. “Our clients’ goal was to bring about meaningful, lasting change at San Francisco State University and throughout the California State University system, and to make sure that the rights of all Jewish students are safeguarded now and into the future. That’s what this settlement achieves.”

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