Lawfare Victories in Other Jurisdictions, The Second Involving CFTRL’s Board Member Brooke’s Lawfare Project
Both MEF and The Lawfare Project gave financial support to last Sunday’s very successful CFTRL Teach-In Conference
1) CAIR Loses a Round in San Diego to MEF-Funded Lawsuit
PHILADELPHIA – March 20, 2019 – The Council on American-Islamic Relation’s (CAIR) ubiquitous presence in the San Diego Unified School District is over, thanks in part to the Middle East Forum.
A settlement in the federal lawsuit against the District, substantially funded by MEF, ends the District’s “anti-Islamophobia initiative,” which: (i) singled out Muslim students for special protections; and (ii) empowered Islamist CAIR to change the District’s curriculum to portray Islam more favorably.
The District enacted its initiative in 2017 at the behest of CAIR, which claimed that “Islamophobia” was sweeping through schools after the November 2016 elections. According to the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund – which brought the lawsuit on behalf of five San Diego families – CAIR activists were teaching schoolchildren “how to become allies to Muslim students” and conducting Islamic education workshops for teachers, among other inequities.
Under the terms of the court settlement:
- “Educators should treat each religion with equal respect, with the time and attention spent discussing each religion being proportionate to its impact on history.”
- “Educational material on religious subjects must be neutral and may not be presented in a manner that promotes one religion over another.”
- “Educators or other staff sponsoring guest speakers at District events must ask them not to use their position or influence on students to forward their own religious, political, economic or social views and shall take active steps to neutralize whatever bias has been presented.”
- “Guest speakers from religious organizations are not permitted to present to students on religious topics.”
“This is a tremendous victory, because CAIR intended this plan to be a pilot program for a nationwide rollout,” said Daniel J. Piedra, executive director of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund. “I thank the Forum for its support of this critical case.”
“This is a prime example of how the Forum helps protect the West from Islamist aggression,” notes Forum director Gregg Roman.”
2) California State University (CSU) agrees to landmark settlement with The Lawfare Project and Winston & Strawn LLP to safeguard Jewish students’ rights
University will acknowledge Zionism as an important part of Jewish identity and implement wide-ranging measures to protect Jewish students
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The Lawfare Project and Winston & Strawn LLP today reached a landmark settlement in their lawsuits against the California State University (CSU) public university system.
The settlement in Volk v. Board of Trustees comes ahead of this month’s scheduled trial for a lawsuit brought by two Jewish students who allege that San Francisco State University (SFSU) and the Board of Trustees of CSU discriminated against them.
As part of the settlement, SFSU agreed to:
- Public statement: Issue a statement affirming that “it understands that, for many Jews, Zionism is an important part of their identity”;
- Coordinator of Jewish Student Life: “Hire a Coordinator of Jewish Student Life within the Division of Equity & Community Inclusion” and dedicate suitable office space for this position;
- External review of policies: “Retain an independent, external consultant to assess SFSU’s procedures for enforcement of applicable CSU system-wide anti-discrimination policies and student code of conduct”;
- Independent investigation of additional complaints: “SFSU will, for a period of 24 months, assign all complaints of religious discrimination under either E.O. 1096 or E.O. 1097 to an independent, outside investigator for investigation”;
- Funding viewpoint diversity: “SFSU will allocate an additional $200,000 to support educational outreach efforts to promote viewpoint diversity (including but not limited to pro-Israel or Zionist viewpoints) and inclusion and equity on the basis of religious identity (including but not limited to Jewish religious identity)”; and
- Campus mural: Engage in the SFSU process to allocate “space on the SFSU campus for a mural to be installed under the oversight of the Division of Equity & Community Inclusion, paid for by the University, that will be designed by student groups of differing viewpoints on the issues that are the subject of this litigation to be agreed by the parties (including but not limited to Jewish, pro-Israel, and/or Zionist student groups, should such student groups elect to participate in the process).”
“California State University’s public recognition that Zionism is an integral part of Jewish identity represents a major victory for Jewish students at SFSU and across the country. Today, we have ensured that SFSU will put in place important protections for Jewish and Zionist students to prevent continued discrimination. We are confident that this will change the campus climate for the better,” said Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project. “The Lawfare Project was proud to play a role in securing justice for Jewish and Zionist students at SFSU. We commend the student plaintiffs who showed the courage to stand up and advocate for their civil rights.”
“We are incredibly happy with this result,” said Ross M. Kramer of Winston & Strawn LLP. “Our clients’ goal was to bring about meaningful, lasting change at San Francisco State University and throughout the California State University system, and to make sure that the rights of all Jewish students are safeguarded now and into the future. That’s what this settlement achieves.”
About The Lawfare Project: Headquartered in New York, The Lawfare Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a legal think tank and litigation fund committed to protecting the civil and human rights of Jewish communities around the world. To learn more, please visit www.thelawfareproject.org.
About Winston & Strawn LLP: For more than 160 years, Winston & Strawn LLP has served as a trusted adviser and advocate for clients across virtually every industry. In that time, through careful growth and thoughtful fiscal management, we have built a law practice with tremendous breadth and a global reach. We are proud of the many accolades we have received over the years—a tribute to our lawyers’ creativity, flexibility, depth of experience, and commitment. The most meaningful accolade to us, though, is the continued trust and confidence of our clients. To learn more, please visit www.winston.com.