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Press Release: StandWithUs Urges Northwestern University Trustees to Nullify Unlawful Agreement Giving In to Encampment Agitators

Legal opinion by Kasowitz Law Firm on behalf of StandWithUs claims Northwestern leadership’s actions are unlawful and urges the Board of Trustees to invalidate the agreement that places Northwestern’s values, reputation, standing and endowment in jeopardy.

 
 

Los Angeles, CA, July 1, 2024 – StandWithUs, utilizing the legal counsel of Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, sent a legal demand letter to the trustees of Northwestern University (“Northwestern”) objecting to the unlawful and immoral agreement the administration entered into, capitulating to the discriminatory demands of student, faculty, and outside agitators on April 29, 2024. This letter represents StandWithUs’ constituency of Northwestern students and their parents, professors, and concerned community members affected and alarmed by antisemitism at Northwestern. 

 

The letter alleges that Northwestern’s agreement with individuals who intentionally and openly harassed and threatened Jewish and Israeli students risks Northwestern’s “values, reputation, standing and endowment.” StandWithUs requests that, in accordance with their Title VI responsibilities, university policies and statues, and fiduciary duty, the trustees of Northwestern must nullify the agreement and suggests the removal of University leadership who enabled these actions, such as President Schill. 


“Northwestern has surrendered to agitators’ unlawful conduct and outrageous demands in a move that threatens to set a national precedent for university leadership enabling and supporting in the complete breakdown of civility, policies, and the law,” said Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs. “At a time when Jewish and Israeli students across the country are under unprecedented attack, Northwestern’s leadership shouldn’t engage in patchwork unlawful actions but instead strive to be a part of the solution.” 

 

Some examples of the many factors cited in the letter, which renders the agreement unsupportable include: 


  • Those from the Deering Meadow encampment who entered in this agreement were offered disciplinary amnesty and exoneration, despite being known to have committed numerous violations of University policy – including the Policy on Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct; 

  • As a recipient of federal funding, the Northwestern administration’s inaction to prevent and adequately respond to antisemitic harassment and discrimination isin violation of Title VI and subject to investigation by the Department of Education; 

  • Agitators were rewarded for their harmful activities, being granted numerous concessions such as: funding for two visiting Palestinian faculty per year for two years, the creation of a renovated house for MENA/Muslim students, and representation of their lobby before the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees, all likely in violation of federal Title VI obligations; 

  • Agitators were shielded from the consequences of their own actions when the university publicly advised employers to not rescind job offers and deliberately mischaracterized the harassment and discrimination witnessed under their jurisdiction as protected First Amendment activities; 

  • This agreement with its financial implications was signed by leadership in direct contravention of its own policies requiring trustee authorization of such a contract and budgetary commitment: the University Statues requires authorization of any “contract, agreement, promise…” of this kind by the Board of Trustees and the Bylaws make clear that no “agent or officer” has the ability to “expend any money or make any contract involving the payment of money…” 


In response to the agreement being signed without consulting the President’s Advisory Committee on Preventing Antisemitism and Hate, seven Jewish members immediately resigned and the committee since disbanded. StandWithUs’ letter urges Northwestern’s trustees to invalidate this agreement and explore a leadership change, claiming that with current leadership has ignored the pleas of the Jewish community and set itself on a destructive path that risks worsening reputational and financial liability. 


Read the letter HERE

 

 

StandWithUs is an international, non-partisan education organization that supports Israel and fights antisemitism. StandWithUs empowers and energizes students and communities with leadership training and educational programs on hundreds of college campuses, high schools, and middle schools. StandWithUs informs through social media, print and digital materials, films, weekly newsletters, and missions to Israel. StandWithUs takes legal action through the StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization has chapters and offices throughout the U.S., Israel, the UK, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Australia. More at www.standwithus.com. 

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