Two Jewish students from the State University of New York at New Paltz have filed a civil rights complaint after facing discrimination at the school.
The students claimed they were excluded from a sex abuse survivors group, only on the basis of their personal views of Israel. In response, the Brandeis Center for Human Rights filed a civil rights complaint with the US Department of Education claiming SUNY’s New Paltz campus condoned antisemitism against the two Zionist Jewish students, Cassandra Blotner and Ofek Preis.
The complaint states, “SUNY [New Paltz]…is permitting a hostile environment that marginalizes and excludes these Jewish… and Israeli sexual assault survivor students. The school is also denying Jewish and Israeli survivors of sexual assault on campus equal access to the educational opportunities and services they need, on the basis of their shared ancestry, ethnicity, and national origin in violation of Title VI.”
The problem began last December when Blotner posted a message on her personal Instagram account that read, “Jews are an ethnic group who come from Israel. This is proven by genealogical, historical and archeological evidence. Israel is not a ‘colonial’ state and Israelis aren’t ‘settlers.’ You cannot colonize the land your ancestors are from.”
In response, members of New Paltz Accountability (NPA), a group Blotner and another student founded to combat sexual assault, demanded Blotner defend her views, claiming her personal post “concerns the organization as a whole.”
Following this, Blotner said she faced harassment on social media, with others calling her a “dumb b—h” who supports “mass genocide!!!!” who “needs to go,” according to the complaint.
Preis, another NPA member, shared Blotner’s post on her Instagram. Soon after, NPA stopped contacting Preis about the group’s activities and blocked her access to shared organizational documents.
The complaint cites Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin, including discrimination against Jews on the basis of their actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, in educational institutions that receive federal funding.