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Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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BeyondMU: Top Law Firms Threaten to End Recruitment Over Antisemitism

Matthew+Schaffer
The Parthenon
Matthew Schaffer

As the nation’s campuses continue to experience higher rates of antisemitism and Islamophobia since the war broke out between Israel and Hamas, top law firms are urging universities to crack down on antisemitism or face consequences.

The firms, including Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Debevoise & Plimpton and Kirkland & Ellis, among others, penned an open letter that was obtained on Monday, Nov. 6, to top universities, including Yale, Harvard, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania and Cornell, among others, urging a greater fight against antisemitism on campus. 

“As employers who recruit from each of your law schools,” the open letter said, “we look to you to ensure your students who hope to join our law firms after graduation are prepared to be an active part of workplace communities that have zero tolerance policies for any form of discrimination or harassment, much less the kind that has been taking place on some law school campuses.”

These law firms are among the most prestigious landing spots for law school graduates, placing a larger burden on universities that are already facing backlash from donors, including those of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard.

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“We have been alarmed at the reports of antisemetic harassment, vandalism and assaults on college campuses, including rallies calling for the death of Jews and the elimination of the State of Israel,” the letter said. “Such antisemitic activities would not be tolerated at our firms.”

Following the events of the attack on Israel by Hamas on Oct. 7, Ryna Workman, the president of New York University of Law’s Student Bar Association, released a letter that stated that Israel “bears full responsibility for this tremendous loss of life.”

The statement resulted in the law firm Winston & Strawn withdrawing Workman’s job offer, despite Workman working for the firm during the previous summer. Workman would later face death threats and attacks since the letter was released.

This most recent revelation marks yet another facet of the mounting pressure on colleges and universities nationwide following the Israel-Hamas war. In the month since the initial attacks by the Palestinian terrorist organization, protests have erupted throughout the country, including on campuses. Antisemitic and Islamophobic attacks have seen a rise, and universities like Cornell and Columbia have announced task forces to combat the rise of antisemitic incidents.

The Biden Administration announced last week the involvement of federal resources, including those of the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, to help curb the rise of antisemitic attacks that have been aimed toward Jewish students on campus.

Following the barrage of online threats toward Jewish students at Cornell, the university increased campus security for Jewish students, and the campus police announced collaboration with the FBI to report any potential threats made towards students.

The White House also announced that the Education Department of Civil Rights will expedite claims filed under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits xenophobia on college campuses.

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