Enough is enough

Class action to hold USYD accountable for antisemitism

A USYD spokesperson said the university was aware of the potential action ‘and will consider our response’.

Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins
Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

A failure to effectively tackle antisemitism on campus in the wake of October 7 has led to the University of Sydney (USYD) staring down the barrel of a potential class action under the Racial Discrimination Act.

Barrister Adam Butt, who successfully spearheaded the recent antisemitic bullying case against Brighton Secondary College in Melbourne, has joined forces with law firm Levitt Robinson in seeking Jewish staff and students at USYD to join the action.

They plan to seek damages for racial vilification, breach of duty of care, breaches of contract between academics and students and Occupational Health and Safety breaches.

The AJN understands a successful action could set a precedent for other universities.

“The sustained and toxic nature of the attacks on Jews at Sydney University have had a grave effect on the psyche of students and academics alike,” Levitt Robinson senior partner Stewart Levitt said.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin said, “The fact that students and staff feel so let down by their universities that they have to contemplate private legal action brings shame to our higher education sector.”

A USYD spokesperson said the university was aware of the potential action “and will consider our response”.

Vice Chancellor Mark Scott last week pledged a thorough review of USYD’s ties with other universities in what was seen as a capitulation to the ostensibly pro-Palestinian encampment on the campus.

Scott this week sent encampment organisers a revised offer which was promptly rejected, with protesters on Wednesday threatening in a video to disrupt exams.

“By making an offer to the encampment, the University of Sydney has created a dangerous precedent and emboldened extremists who will never be appeased,” NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president Ossip said.

Support the action: classpr.com.au/sydney-university

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