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College at center of Free Palestine library attack hit with student lawsuit: Pro-Hamas hate

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FIRST ON FOX: A group of Jewish students filed a lawsuit against Cooper Union, a private college located in Manhattan, Tuesday over reportedly failing to protect students from an increase in cases of antisemitism following the outbreak of war in Israel last year, Fox News Digital has exclusively learned. 

“Cooper Union has failed to adequately protect not just our clients but other Jewish students on campus in the face of pro-Hamas hate,” Brooke Goldstein, founder and executive director of The Lawfare Project, said of the suit. “No student should be subjected to intimidation, fear or hatred when pursuing an education.”

The Lawfare Project, a nonprofit legal group that works to protect the civil rights of Jewish people, joined by legal firm Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Cooper Union on behalf of 10 Jewish students at the school. 

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is a small private four-year college located in Lower Manhattan. It has been the site of anti-Israel protests, including a tense standoff at the school’s library last year. 

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Shortly following the outbreak of war between Hamas and Israel on Oct. 7 of last year, pro-Israel and Jewish students on Cooper Union’s campus said they felt unsafe on Oct. 25 when they recounted being barricaded in the school’s library as anti-Israel agitators chanted outside and banged on the building’s doors. The NYPD later said the Jewish students who were studying in the library were not barricaded into the building, but that school officials had asked plainclothes officers to respond to the school as tensions flared. 

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“It was tense, people were nervous,” one unidentified student told CBS at the time. “They were specifically acting very aggressive in those spaces where outwardly Jewish students were sitting.”

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The protesters chanted “Free Palestine,” and students at the school of less than 1,000 undergraduates reiterated to media that the incident could have devolved into a more violent scene. 

“I genuinely don’t know what would’ve happened if the doors were left open,” another student said, according to CBS at the time. 

Parents of Jewish students at the school told CBS in December that they had repeatedly called on the school to better protect Jewish students, but “nothing happened.” Another parent said her daughter was “frightened” to be on campus. 

The lawsuit argues that Cooper Union has failed to adequately address the increase in antisemitism on campus

“Despite the alarming rise in antisemitism, colleges across the United States are turning their backs on Jewish students,” Ziporah Reich, director of litigation at The Lawfare Project, said. “We will do everything we can to fight for our clients as they courageously assert their rights under the law.”

The lawsuit is just the latest The Lawfare Project has filed on behalf of students against colleges since the war in Israel began six months ago. In December, the group filed a suit against Carnegie Mellon on behalf of a Jewish student they said faced “pervasive anti-Jewish discrimination during her tenure at the university.” 

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In February, The Lawfare Project filed another suit against Columbia University on behalf of a Jewish student who was “forced out of an academic program after she requested religious and safety accommodations,” according to a previous press release. 

Colleges nationwide, most notably highly competitive schools, have come under fierce fire for their handling of campus antisemitism since Oct. 7. 

The University of Pennsylvania and Harvard both saw their presidents resign amid national and campus outrage after they appeared before Congress in December and were grilled about their handling of antisemitism on their respective campuses. 

Jewish high school students in the New York City area were warned last month against applying to Cornell University over the school’s reported failure to protect Jewish students from repeated instances of antisemitism. And some college campuses, such as Rutgers as recently as last week, continue to see pro-Palestinian protests break out in anti-Israel slogans like “one solution, intifada revolution.”

Fox News Digital reached out to the Cooper Union for comment on the suit Tuesday afternoon, but did not immediately receive a reply. 

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