A lawsuit by current and former Jewish students accusing San Francisco State University of fostering anti-Semitism suffered a setback Wednesday when a federal judge said the students had failed, at least so far, to show any discrimination by university officials.
To prove the students’ rights were violated, “you must allege a specific intent to discriminate,” which is missing from the suit, U.S. District Judge William Orrick III said during a one-hour hearing in a packed San Francisco courtroom.
Orrick said he intended to dismiss the suit but allow the students’ lawyers to refile it. To proceed, he said, they would have to describe events that showed not merely that individual Jewish students were harassed on campus, or that an Israeli speaker was shouted down, but that SFSU officials were responsible for the events and were motivated by religious bias.
Seth Weisburst, a lawyer for the students, told reporters he was confident the suit would be reinstated. During the hearing, he told Orrick that “Jews are treated like second-class students on this campus” and are “afraid to wear the Star of David.”