Federal complaint filed against Stanford University for fostering anti-Semitism, and disregarding concerns

The Louis Brandeis Center:

Jewish employees at Stanford University have experienced severe and persistent anti-Jewish harassment, according to a complaint filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

The complaint, which was announced for the first time today, alleges that Stanford University’s Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) division has created and fostered a hostile and unwelcoming environment for Jews in its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) program, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

“As counselors, we strongly support diversity, equity and inclusion and are mortified that Stanford University has permitted the DEI program to be perverted so that it accomplishes precisely the opposite of its intended aims,” stated Dr. Ronald Albucher and Sheila Levin in their complaint.

“The very program that is supposed to facilitate the full inclusion of all members of the Stanford community is now undermining that goal, perpetrating the very invidious discrimination that it is meant to eliminate.” Dr. Albucher was the Director of CAPS from 2008-2017. Since 2017 he has worked as a Staff Psychiatrist in CAPS and is also a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University Medical School. Ms. Levin worked as the Clinical Care Manager/Eating Disorder Specialist at CAPS for the last 13 years.

to the complaint, Stanford’s CAPS DEI program has advanced anti-Semitic tropes concerning Jewish power, conspiracy, and control and endorsed the narrative that Jews support white supremacy and contribute to systemic racism. This narrative is inconsistent with DEI principles and undermines the purposes for which DEI programs are properly developed.

The complaint further alleges the DEI program refused to address incidents of anti-Semitism, including swastika vandalism. In addition, the DEI program has completely excluded anti-Semitism from the program’s agenda and silenced and intimidated Jews who have spoken up to challenge the program’s failure to discuss incidents of Jew- hatred at Stanford.

For example, in May 2020, during a virtual townhall for the Stanford community, unknown participants hijacked the meeting and shared racist messages that displayed images of swastikas and weapons and used the N-word. This incident caused widespread distress among members of Stanford’s student body due to the racist and anti- Semitic nature of the attack. At the next DEI meeting, DEI committee members addressed the racist and anti-Black content but did not mention the anti-Semitic images of swastikas. When asked about that, the answer was that the DEI committee intentionally decided to omit any mention of anti-Semitism so as not to dominate the discussion about anti-Black racism.

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