California State University (CSU) agrees to landmark settlement with The Lawfare Project and Winston & Strawn LLP to safeguard Jewish students’ rights
Press Release – For Immediate Release
March 20, 2019
University will acknowledge Zionism as an important part of Jewish identity and implement wide-ranging measures to protect Jewish students
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The Lawfare Project and Winston & Strawn LLP today reached a landmark settlement in their lawsuits against the California State University (CSU) public university system.
The settlement in Volk v. Board of Trustees comes ahead of this month's scheduled trial for a lawsuit brought by two Jewish students who allege that San Francisco State University (SFSU) and the Board of Trustees of CSU discriminated against them.
As part of the settlement, SFSU agreed to:
Public statement: Issue a statement affirming that
"it understands that, for many Jews, Zionism is an important part of their identity";
Coordinator of Jewish Student Life: "Hire a Coordinator of Jewish Student Life within the Division of Equity & Community Inclusion" and dedicate suitable office space for this position;
External review of policies: "Retain an independent, external consultant to assess SFSU’s procedures for enforcement of applicable CSU system-wide anti-discrimination policies and student code of conduct";
Independent investigation of additional complaints: "SFSU will, for a period of 24 months, assign all complaints of religious discrimination under either E.O. 1096 or E.O. 1097 to an independent, outside investigator for investigation";
Funding viewpoint diversity: "SFSU will allocate an additional $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)"; and
Campus mural: Engage in the SFSU process to allocate "space on the SFSU campus for a mural to be installed under the oversight of the Division of Equity & Community Inclusion, paid for by the University, that will be designed by student groups of differing viewpoints on the issues that are the subject of this litigation to be agreed by the parties (including but not limited to Jewish, pro-Israel, and/or Zionist student groups, should such student groups elect to participate in the process)."
"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. 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," said Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project. "The Lawfare Project was proud to play a role in securing justice for Jewish and Zionist students at SFSU. 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."
About The Lawfare Project: Headquartered in New York, The Lawfare Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a legal think tank and litigation fund committed to protecting the civil and human rights of Jewish communities around the world. To learn more, please visit www.thelawfareproject.org.
About Winston & Strawn LLP: For more than 160 years, Winston & Strawn LLP has served as a trusted adviser and advocate for clients across virtually every industry. In that time, through careful growth and thoughtful fiscal management, we have built a law practice with tremendous breadth and a global reach. We are proud of the many accolades we have received over the years—a tribute to our lawyers' creativity, flexibility, depth of experience, and commitment. The most meaningful accolade to us, though, is the continued trust and confidence of our clients. To learn more, please visit www.winston.com.