Newly filed lawsuit alleges systematic anti-Semitism at S.F. State

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Attorneys representing two Jewish students at San Francisco State University last week filed a lawsuit against the school, alleging it discriminates against Jewish students in violation of their civil rights.

The complaint was filed Feb. 1 in Superior Court of California for the County of San Francisco. Based on California law, it brings a civil rights claim against SFSU and the Board of Trustees of California State University. The two plaintiffs are Charles Volk and Liam Kern, both current S.F. State students.

This state complaint follows a June 2017 lawsuit, filed in Federal Court against 13 of the university’s professors and administrators, as well as the university itself and the board of trustees. That federal suit is still moving forward, according to lawyers for the Lawfare Project, which serves as co-counsel to the plaintiffs in both suits.

Explaining why this second suit was brought, and in state rather than federal court, attorney Seth Weisburst of Winston & Strawn said by email, “The Board of Trustees of California State University and San Francisco State University are immune from constitutional lawsuits in Federal court, but not in State court. This is why we brought an additional lawsuit in State Court, which is designed to hold the University directly accountable for the systematic violations of the plaintiffs’ civil rights. We will continue to pursue the state and federal lawsuits in parallel to advance justice for our clients.” The parties “are awaiting the Court’s order” regarding the initial lawsuit, and if that complaint is dismissed, Weisburst added, “the Court has indicated that Plaintiffs will be granted the opportunity to amend the complaint, which plaintiffs will do expeditiously so that the federal case may proceed.”

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