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Harvard seeks to dismiss antisemitism lawsuit filed by six Jewish students

Harvard claimed that the students

Published: April 15, 2024 10:30am

Harvard is urging a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by six Jewish students alleging that the school has failed to respond to antisemitism, creating a "severe and pervasive hostile environment for Jews" on campus.

The university on Friday filed a motion to dismiss on procedural grounds, claiming that the students have a "lack of standing" and they did "not plausibly allege" that Harvard demonstrated discriminatory actions.

The original 77-page complaint was filed in January, with Divinity School student Shabbos "Alexander" Kestenbaum as the only named plaintiff. He was also joined by five students identified only as members of the non-profit activist group Students Against Antisemitism.

"Harvard’s antisemitism cancer—as a past Harvard president termed it—manifests itself in a double standard invidious to Jews. Harvard selectively enforces its policies to avoid protecting Jewish students from harassment, hires professors who support anti-Jewish violence and spread antisemitic propaganda, and ignores Jewish students’ pleas for protection," the original lawsuit states. 

In support of its motion to dismiss, the university also filed a memorandum outlining the "tangible steps" that Harvard said it has taken to "investigate and combat antisemitic conduct on campus."

The filing comes after Harvard saw a decline in undergraduate applications for this fall following months of scandals involving antisemitism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs and plagiarism. 

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