$15 million class-action lawsuit filed against York University for antisemitic incidents

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TORONTO — York University and its students union are facing a $15-million class-action lawsuit related to decades of alleged antisemitic incidents.

Representing current students, recent alumni and attendees from 1998-2021, the lawsuit targets both York University and the York Federation of Students.

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The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiffs have been made to feel unsafe on campus, including being forced to hide their Jewish identity and threatened with physical violence.

The plaintiffs claim that the school failed to address antisemitic incidents, violating York’s non-discrimination policies, and providing insufficient staff training on handling harassment.

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“York University has not upheld its commitment to its own guidelines and policies, particularly those vital for ensuring student safety,” said Sandra Zisckind, managing partner at Diamond and Diamond Lawyers, which filed the lawsuit. “Owning the campus space in question, they are legally obligated to demonstrate accountability.”

The plaintiffs are looking for immediate action to ensure their safety and prevent future incidents, according to the law firm.

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The allegations have not been proven in court.

The university, which is Canada’s third-largest with more than 55,000 students, issued a statement earlier this week, saying it unequivocally condemns “all forms of discrimination and hate, including antisemitism and Islamophobia.”

“York is committed to providing inclusive campus environments where community members feel safe and welcomed without fear of intimidation or harassment,” the statement said.

Earlier this month, York University demanded that three student unions retract or sufficiently defend a collective statement that declared “unwavering support of the Palestinian people’s fight for self-determination and liberation” against “the settler-colonial apartheid state of so-called Israel.”

The university added that the York Federation of Students, York University Graduate Student Association and Glendon College Student Union statement breached York’s Regulation Regarding Student Organizations.

In response, a joint letter from the student unions demands that York “stop their unlawful attack on student voices and repeal
the Regulation Regarding Student Organizations.”

The Jewish Campus Coalition, meanwhile, condemned the original statement from the student unions, characterizing it as having “an extreme and deliberate disregard for not only Jewish but all students affected by the horrible tragedies that have been and continue to occur.”

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Originally posted 2023-10-27 18:38:24.