In the wake of a rise in anti-Semitic incidents at college campuses across the United States, top law firms are taking a stand against discrimination and harassment targeting Jewish students. In a letter sent to law schools, two dozen Wall Street firms are calling for a crackdown on hate speech and radical protests, warning that students involved in such activities may face difficulty finding jobs after graduation.
The New York Times reports that the letter, signed by major law firms like Davis Polk & Wardwell and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, has been sent to law schools across the country. The firms expressed their concern at reports of anti-Semitic 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 also addressed the recent trend of outside groups engaging in acts of harassment and threats of violence on college campuses, especially against Jewish students. The firms emphasized that such activities would not be tolerated in their workplaces and that they expect colleges and universities to take a stronger stance against discrimination and hate speech.
As employers who recruit from these law schools, the firms reminded the deans of their responsibility to educate students in an environment that encourages civil discourse and respect for differing opinions. They stressed the importance of creating a zero-tolerance policy for any form of discrimination or harassment, especially those that have been occurring on some law school campuses.
The controversial incidents that sparked the letter include an attack on a Jewish student at Temple University, where a large number of anti-Semitic flyers were posted on campus. At Oberlin College, pro-Palestinian students blamed Israel for the October 7 attacks and circulated a letter calling for a boycott of Israeli products. As a result, Davis Polk & Wardwell rescinded job offers to some students involved in these protests.
Some of the largest law firms in the country have a message for the deans of law schools who have tolerated Antisemitic activities conducted by their students:
If you want your graduates to get good jobs in our law firms, stop producing Antisemites. pic.twitter.com/JBrmJdslPa
— Joel M. Petlin (@Joelmpetlin) November 2, 2023
The letter has garnered mixed reactions from law school deans and students. While some view it as a threat to free speech and activism, others see it as a necessary step towards creating a more respectful and inclusive learning environment. Some have also expressed concerns about the potential impact on students who may have been swept up in protests without fully understanding the implications of their actions.
Nonetheless, the law firms are firm in their stance and have made it clear that they will not tolerate any form of bigotry or discrimination within their workplaces. As the competition for top jobs after graduation remains fierce, this warning is not to be taken lightly by law schools and students alike. Only time will tell if this letter will have a lasting impact on the attitude and behavior of students on college campuses.