Federal complaint: Georgia Tech. faculty turned away from socialist event for being Jewish

The American Center for Law and Justice has filed a complaint against the Georgia Institute of Technology for allegedly engaging in discrimination and harassment against Jewish faculty and students. 

The Constitutional liberties defense organization has urged the U.S. Department of Education to “investigate and determine” if the school has been involved with activities that violate Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. 

In the complaint, filed in December 2019, the ACLJ requested that the Department of Education should look into the following incidents: 

 “Georgia Tech (1) allowed blatant anti-Semitic exclusion and harassment at a campus group event, attempted to conceal the offense, repeatedly and systemically stonewalled Jewish student and faculty efforts to address the incident; (2) ignored two out of the three complaints arising from said event; and (3) after a student conduct board finally found the campus group guilty on the one complaint they did hear, violated their own policies and issued a decision on appeal reversing that guilty ruling – allowing the anti-Semitism to continue unchecked.”

The complaint was filed several weeks after Trump’s executive order to fight antisemitism on college campuses and during the week of Hanukkah. 

[RELATED: Trump signs executive order against campus anti-semitism]

According to the complaint, in April 2019, the Young Democratic Socialists of America refused to let Hillel (a Jewish campus organization) Director, Lauren Blazofsky, into one of its public events. It was believed that she was not let in because she is Jewish. The YDSA president asked Blazofsky if she was ‘Lauren from Hillel” and was not allowed into the event, which led Blazofsky to file a report with the Office of Integrity at Georgia Tech. 

However, this was not the end. Blazofsky received an email from YDSA saying that another Jewish faculty member, not associated with Hillel (the email stated that the faculty member was a “Hillel-affiliated member”) had been supposedly harassing YDSA members/spying on them. 

The complaint stated, “Dr. Lubinsky [the faculty member] just happens to be Jewish. Apparently ‘Hillel’ is YDSA’s shorthand for ‘Jewish.’ Georgia Tech’s ‘blind eye’ not only foments, but also protects, this type of race- and ethnicity-based hatred and intolerance. This is why Blazofsky believes why she was turned away from the event. 

[RELATED: UCLA student files federal complaint against school, alleging anti-semitism] 

Several months later, the Office of Integrity held a hearing only addressing Blazofsky’s case. Initially, the Office of Integrity decided that YDSA had “violated Ms. Blazofsky’s rights” for not letting her in because she is Jewish. YDSA ended up offering an appeal by stating that the decision was about “silencing” the organization’s views on Palestine, even if the case had nothing to do with Palestine or Israel according to the ACLJ complaint. 

“...YDSA succeeded in its campaign to overturn the decision and allow discrimination to continue unabated. For some reason that has never been communicated to Hillel or Ms. Blazofsky, Georgia Tech reversed its decision – well past the appeal decision deadline [October 22]. On November 8, 2019, YDSA issued a public statement saying that it had indeed been vindicated and that Georgia Tech had reversed its decision,” reads the complaint. 

Georgia Tech reportedly did not provide documentation to Hillel about the reversal of the decision. 

“We are aware that the American Center for Law and Justice has requested that the Department of Education investigate Georgia Tech’s handling of the matter involving YDSA and Hillel. The Department has not contacted us about that request, and we will cooperate fully if it does. Georgia Tech maintains a strong anti-discrimination policy, as well as policies that support our community’s First Amendment rights to free speech,” Georgia Tech Media Relations Representative, told Campus Reform

“I was deeply saddened when I first learned of this incident several months ago. The anti-semitic discrimination shown by the Young Democratic Socialists of America at Georgia Tech does not reflect the views of all Tech students, and it most certainly does not embody the values that are ingrained in me and my fellow Yellow Jackets,”  Georgia Tech Turning Point USA chapter president Connor Land told Campus Reform

”This is clearly an issue that we need to call out, and it is something that the administration needs to address; YDSA at GA Tech should be held responsible, and their actions should have appropriate consequences. I am very disappointed in the administration for overturning the decision to discipline YDSA. This sets a dangerous precedent: if there are repercussions for breaking a rule, if you demand that the decision is overturned through the use of a Twitter petition or if you start claiming victim, then all of the consequences will disappear. President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order to combat antisemitism on college campuses. If the administration does not punish YDSA at GA Tech for their actions, then GA Tech should be held accountable,” Land said.

The complaint came just weeks before the BDS Report posted a video on Twitter that it says shows an individual at Georgia Tech rolling up an Israeli flag. The context of the video is unclear, and Campus Reform has not independently verified its authenticity. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @francesanne123