New York University
New York UniversityiStock

New York University (NYU) was sued on Tuesday by three Jewish students who accused the school of creating a hostile environment in which Jewish students are subjected to pervasive antisemitic hatred, discrimination, harassment and intimidation, Reuters reports.

Bella Ingber, Sabrina Maslavi and Saul Tawil said NYU has refused to enforce anti-discrimination policies that it "readily applies" to protect other targets of bigotry, including by allowing chants such as "gas the Jews" and "Hitler was right."

In a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, the plaintiffs, all juniors, said antisemitism had been a "growing institutional problem" at NYU even before the war between Israel and Hamas began last month, and has since gotten worse.

They said Jewish students' complaints are "ignored, slow-walked, or met with gaslighting" by NYU administrators including Linda Mills, who became president in July.

The complaint says that Mills this month dismissed a petition from 4,000 NYU members expressing concern about antisemitism, saying the problem had been blown "out of proportion" and chiding Jewish students as "alarmist."

John Beckman, an NYU spokesman, said the university takes antisemitism and other forms of hate "extremely seriously," and was among the first American universities to condemn Hamas' attack.

"NYU looks forward to setting the record straight, to challenging this lawsuit's one-sided narrative, to making clear the many efforts NYU has made to combat antisemitism and provide a safe environment for Jewish students and non-Jewish students, and to prevailing in court," Beckman said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

The lawsuit comes amid an increase in acts of antisemitism on US campuses since the start of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.

Last week, a 21-year-old student was charged with assault after he punched one person and slammed the thumb of another during a pro-Israel demonstration at New York University’s main library.

At Cornell University, a professor said he was “exhilarated” by Hamas’ attack on Israel, and declared that “Hamas has challenged the monopoly of violence”. The professor, Russell Rickford, later apologized.

Also at Cornell, a student was criminally charged after allegedly making threats of a mass shooting and antisemitic violence.

In another incident, Jewish students at Cooper Union College in New York City were forced to lock themselves inside the library as a mob of anti-Israeli protesters blocked the doors.

About 40 minutes later, security escorted the students out of the building via a tunnel.