(December 28, 2020, JNS Wire)
(New York City, NY – December 22, 2020) – StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department and Center for Combating Antisemitism congratulate Fordham University on its clear victory on December 22, 2020 in New York’s appellate court—finding that Fordham was squarely within its rights to deny Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) student club recognition—and are pleased that the court referenced StandWithUs’ brief in its ruling.
On September 29, 2020, StandWithUs submitted an amicus brief supporting Fordham, arguing that as a private university, Fordham followed its own extensive procedures and had a right to deny SJP official club recognition due to the hate and divisiveness SJP brings to campus. The court agreed with StandWithUs’ arguments, noting that Fordham had a right not to be affiliated with SJP, “a national organization reported to have engaged in disruptive and coercive actions on other campuses,” which would “work against, rather than enhance, [Fordham’s] commitment [to] open dialogue and mutual learning and understanding.” StandWithUs was the first pro-Israel organization to obtain leave to file an amicus brief in this matter.
“We congratulate and commend Fordham University for standing up to a hate group to protect its students from divisiveness and antisemitism on campus,” said Yael Lerman, Director StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department. “Today’s court ruling sets a precedent for private universities, showing that they have a right to reject hatred and discrimination from fomenting on campus,” stated Carly Gammill, Director of the StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism.
Aaron Eitan Meyer, pro bono attorney for StandWithUs. said, “As we stated in our amicus brief, and as counsel for Fordham argued, the university properly followed its own guidelines and made a reasoned decision based upon its findings that a student club affiliated with national Students for Justice in Palestine was not desirable. The lower court erred in granting the petition, and should not have effectively compelled Fordham to act contrary to its own interest. It is gratifying and reaffirming to see the Appellate Division correctly decide this issue based upon applicable law, rather than anyone who argued about what they feel Fordham should or should not have done or how inapplicable federal law theoretically could have been applied.”
StandWithUs thanks pro bono attorneys Aaron Eitan Meyer, Davida Scher and Jessica Behmanesh for their tireless work and efforts in drafting and filing the amicus brief.