Louis D. Brandeis Center to Duke: Students Supporting Israel must be recognized

Written by on December 18, 2021

The Brandeis Center alleged that federal civil rights law was broken due to ‘special scrutiny’ that other non-Jewish groups are not subjected to.

Published: DECEMBER 18, 2021 06:27

A man waves an Israeli flag during a rally against antisemitism, in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin in May.  (photo credit: CHRISTIAN MANG / REUTERS)

A man waves an Israeli flag during a rally against antisemitism, in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin in May.

(photo credit: christian MANG / REUTERS)

The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights called on Duke University on Monday to formally recognize Students Supporting Israel (SSI).

The Brandeis Center stated that this recognition is the “only way to ensure the University’s compliance” with federal law, arguing that Duke has discriminated on the basis of national origin and shared ethnicity in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Only days after SSI was recognized, Duke University student government president Christina Wang vetoed the recognition, claiming that the pro-Israel organization “singled out an individual student on their organization’s social media account,” referring to SSI’s response to a tweet by a Duke student that read “My school promotes settler colonialism.”

It was later clarified that the student government’s decision is independent of that of the university. In response, the Brandeis Center issued a letter stating that the university is “legally obligated to take corrective action in response to the unlawful treatment of Duke SSI by formally recognizing the student organization and ensuring it has equal access to resources.”

The Brandeis Center said Title VI was broken when the school applied “special scrutiny” to Jewish SSI members that other minorities are not subjected to.

People walk at the University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas, US on June 23, 2016. (credit: REUTERS/JON HERSKOVITZ/FILE PHOTO)People walk at the University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas, US on June 23, 2016. (credit: REUTERS/JON HERSKOVITZ/FILE PHOTO)

Duke’s Students for Justice in Palestine recently tweeted a photo of students affiliated with pro-Israel groups with the caption “y’all are a bunch of racist clowns, so I’m going to repeat myself again, f**k DIPAC and every Zionist on campus.”

The Brandeis Center issued this in response:

“The DSG’s actions were discriminatory, and require action by the University. A university violates Title VI when its student government rejects a Jewish student organization’s request for recognition based on standards that are not applied to non-Jewish groups.”

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