3 Canadian universities face $15M lawsuits for allegedly failing to address anti-Semitic incidents

A week after naming York University in a $15 million class action lawsuit alleging failure to address recurring anti-Semitic incidents, law firm Diamond and Diamond has named three more Canadian universities in similar lawsuits.

In a release Thursday, Diamond and Diamond said it has now also launched $15 million class action lawsuits against Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU), Queen’s University and The University of British Columbia, representing present Jewish students and alumni dating back to 1998.

“The defendants are alleged to have shown negligence, specifically in failing to address anti-Semitic incidents, violating the institution’s non-discrimination policies and providing insufficient staff training on handling harassment,” Diamond and Diamond stated.

The lawsuit alleges the universities failed to take substantial action to address anti-Semitic incidents despite receiving numerous complaints.

Instead, Diamond and Diamond Managing Partner Sandra Zisckind said the universities offered “superficial statements without meaningful resolution.”

“Owning the campus space in question, they are obligated to demonstrate accountability,” she added.

Diamond and Diamond cited the following past incidents in its release with regard to the legal action:

  • In November 2022, anti-Semitic graffiti, including a swastika on a fridge in a residence where a Jewish student resided, was discovered on and off the Queen’s University campus.
  • In 2015, Jewish students at TMU reported anti-Semitic graffiti in a washroom urging Jews and their allies to “burn in hell.”

“Given these University’s clear policies on the use and control of its spaces and its acknowledged responsibility over faculty, staff, and student organizations, the institution holds vicarious liability for any actions or behaviours occurring on its premises that contravene its values and standards,” said Darryl Singer, head of class actions at the law firm.

“This lawsuit is not driven by monetary objectives, but rather to ensure such incidents do not recur.”

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

CityNews has reached out to all three universities but has yet to receive responses to the allegations.

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