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Student Complaints Spark Fed Probe of Anti-Semitism on NYU Campus

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Adela Cojab, who was the president of an Israel advocacy group at NYU and was a representative for Jewish students on student government, graduated from the university in May and filed the complaint one month before. (Adela Cojab)

The US Department of Education has said in a letter to Adela Cojab’s lawyers that it intends to investigate “whether, as a result of incidents that occurred at the university, a hostile environment existed for Jewish students on the university campus and, if so, whether the University responded appropriately.”

By: Tirtza Maklewsky

It was last spring that Cojab, a 22-year-old senior at NYU, submitted a complaint about alleged anti-Semitism on campus. “Her complaint mainly centered around a group called Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), an on-campus pro-Palestinian group,” reported VINnews.com. “According to the complaint, Adela alleges that SJP has created a “hostile atmosphere” for Jewish students, and that NYU has allowed “extreme anti-Semitism” to thrive.”

At first, NYU administrators hoped the situation would simply go away. “It was breaking my heart and I immediately went to the administration from the very time SJP put Zionism in the same equivalent as Nazism,” Adela told Fox News at the time. “I told the administration that SJP was creating an unsafe environment where students felt they were being threatened and targeted. The administration essentially told me that they were supportive of the Jewish community, but no concrete actions would be taken against SJP.”

Adela served as president of an Israel advocacy group at NYU, noted Vos Ia Neias, “as well as a representative for Jewish students in student government. She graduated in May, but filed the complaint with the Department of Education one month before graduating.” “The reason why I filed this complaint is so that no student has to go through what I went through,” Adela said.

The student says she is hopeful that something good can come of her efforts. “I hope this causes not only positive change for NYU but is an example to other universities. Students deserve to be safe on their campus, and they shouldn’t be walking around in fear that their identity and expression of identity will be grounds for physical violence or harassment and discrimination,” Cojab told Newsweek in an interview.

“The breaking point for Cojab was when the university honored SJP with the President’s Service Award, which is given to students or student organizations that have an “extraordinary and positive impact” on NYU’s community,” Newsweek reported. “It was entirely unfair, and it’s something they should answer for,” Cojab said. “It reinforces negative behavior. This award goes to groups that every group should strive to be.”

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