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Press Release: StandWithUs Center for Legal Justice and Jewish Students Amend Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Against MIT, Adding Claim Under KKK Laws

Lawsuit asks court to halt and remedy MIT’s antisemitic policies and practices 

(Boston — May 21, 2024)


StandWithUs Center for Legal Justice (SCLJ) and two MIT students amended their federal lawsuit against MIT alleging the university’s approval, support, and enablement of antisemitism in violation of the students’ rights under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and other federal laws. Significantly, the amended complaint incorporates a class count and a claim under civil rights legislation, known as the Ku Klux Klan Laws, for coordinated antisemitic actions which MIT enabled and which deprived Jewish and Israeli students of their constitutional rights. The complaint also includes additional, egregious acts of discrimination, harassment, and intimidation that came to light after the initial lawsuit was filed on March 7, 2024.  


SCLJ and other plaintiffs have asked the court to halt MIT’s discriminatory policies against Jews and order MIT to pay monetary damages for violating the students’ civil rights. 

The amended complaint alleges that in the months since this lawsuit was originally filed, MIT has doubled down on its unlawful conduct, allowing antisemitic demonstrators to deprive Jewish and Israeli students of their constitutional rights rather than take action to enforce its own rules. For example, rather than dismantle an antisemitic encampment set up in clear violation of MIT rules and which prevented Jewish students’ safe access to a Passover seder at the campus Hillel, MIT forced Jewish and Israeli students to relocate the seder.  


Student plaintiffs are available for interview upon request. A copy of the amended complaint is posted on the SCLJ website. SCLJ and the students are being represented in court by Marlene Goldenberg of Nigh Goldenberg Raso & Vaughn, PLLC, Melissa Weiner of Pearson Warshaw, LLP, Janet Varnell of Varnell & Warwick, P.A., Jason P. Sultzer of Sultzer & Lipari, PLLC, and David Abrams of the Zionist Advocacy Center.  


“M​IT's selective enforcement of its own policies forced Jewish students to skip classes, take final exams online, and relocate cultural and religious events,” said Marlene Goldenberg. “Section 1986 of the Ku Klux Klan Act was enacted in 1871 to ensure that the people​ and institutions with the power to stop racial violence and discrimination could not stand by and allow it to happen. More than 150 years later, we have reached a point where this law now needs to be used to protect Jewish students on college campuses.” 


“Since our original filing against MIT, the administration has continued to refuse to hold perpetrators of antisemitic conduct accountable,” said Yael Lerman, director of SCLJ. “MIT not only enables antisemitic demonstrators to deprive Jewish and Israeli students of their constitutional rights but has demanded that Jewish victims of discrimination accept this deprivation of rights by avoiding certain campus locations. The Ku Klux Klan Laws can compel MIT to finally protect the rights of Jewish and Israeli students, since it is obvious that absent judicial intervention, MIT will not do so.” 


Read the amended complaint HERE.  


About the StandWithUs Center for Legal Justice StandWithUs Center for Legal Justice (SCLJ) is a tax-exempt membership organization that partners with the StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department, a division of StandWithUs, a nonprofit education organization dedicated to supporting Israel and combating antisemitism. Comprised of students, professors, and community members, SCLJ enhances StandWithUs’ mission through impact litigation and other legal actions. Learn more at   


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