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Law Firms Warn Elite Universities About Antisemitism on Campus
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In a recent development, some of the nation’s most prestigious law firms have issued a stern warning to America’s elite universities, urging them to address the issue of antisemitism on their campuses. The law firms have made it clear that failing to combat antisemitism may lead to real consequences for both the schools and their students.

Alarming Reports of Antisemitic Incidents

The law firms’ concern stems from disturbing incidents that have unfolded in recent weeks on college campuses across the United States. Reports have emerged of antisemitic harassment, vandalism, and even physical assaults. In some instances, rallies have been organized with participants calling for the death of Jews and the elimination of the State of Israel. More than two dozen law firms voiced their concerns in a letter obtained by CNN, expressing their alarm at these events.


Zero Tolerance for Discrimination and Harassment

The law firms emphasized that such antisemitism would not be tolerated within their organizations. They are also profoundly concerned about outside groups engaging in harassment and threats of violence on college campuses. As employers who recruit talent from these universities, law firms expect that graduates entering their workplaces will be well-prepared to be active members of communities that uphold a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination or harassment.

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Prominent Law Firms Take a Stand

Among the law firms that signed the letter are some of the most coveted employers for graduates from these law schools, including Cravath, Swaine & Moore; Debevoise & Plimpton; Kirkland & Ellis; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Since the initial publication of the letter, additional law firms have joined this campaign.

Campaign Spearheaded by Sullivan & Cromwell

Joe Shenker, the senior chair of Sullivan & Cromwell, a New York-based law firm, spearheaded the campaign to address antisemitism on college campuses. The letter, sent on a Monday, was directed to the deans of law schools at prominent institutions such as Yale, Harvard, Columbia, the University of Virginia, Georgetown, the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, the University of Michigan, New York University, and Stanford.

No Tolerance for Hate in Workplaces and Communities

The law firms stressed that there is no room for antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism, or any other form of violence, hatred, or bigotry on college campuses, in workplaces, or in communities. They firmly believe that it is essential to address and eradicate such behaviors.

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Real-World Consequences for Some Students

The impact of this campaign is already being felt. Last month, the president of the NYU Student Bar Association, Ryna Workman, made a statement attributing responsibility to Israel for a significant loss of life. In response, law firm Winston & Strawn promptly rescinded a job offer to the NYU student, who had previously worked as a summer associate at the firm. Workman later clarified her statement, acknowledging that it came across as insensitive and also revealed that she received multiple death threats.

Seeking Urgent Dialogue with Law Schools

In their letter, the law firms requested a dialogue with the deans of law schools to understand how they are addressing the serious issue of antisemitism on their campuses. They emphasized the need for urgency in addressing this situation.

Elite Universities Launch Efforts Against Antisemitism

On the same day the letter was sent, elite universities dealing with heightened tensions over the Israel-Hamas conflict initiated efforts to combat antisemitism. The President of the University of Pennsylvania, Liz Magill, announced an action plan to counter antisemitism after facing pressure from donors. This plan was developed in consultation with national and local Jewish leaders, faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Columbia University Forms Task Force

Columbia University also took significant steps by announcing the formation of a task force dedicated to addressing antisemitism following a series of antisemitic incidents on its campus. University leaders expressed their concern about the rise of antisemitism in recent years, even in a time when one would hope such hatred would have no place in society.

These recent actions reflect the commitment of both law firms and universities to combat antisemitism and ensure that campuses remain inclusive and safe spaces for all students.

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