APT and EWI Threaten Lawsuit Against UMass Amherst For Expelling Jewish Student Due to His Political and Religious Beliefs

Faculty decided student’s “views are not the kind we want to cultivate at the University;” had student arrested on fake hate crime charges.
Faculty decided student’s “views are not the kind we want to cultivate at the University;” had student arrested on fake hate crime charges.

May 28, 2020

Karen Hurvitz, Esq.: HurvitzLaw@comcast.net
Ilya Feoktistov, Esq.: If@peaceandtolerance.org



Faculty Decided Student’s “Views Are Not the Kind We Want to Cultivate at the University;” Had Student Arrested on Fake Hate Crime Charges

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS — May 28, 2020. Attorneys for Massachusetts Jewish civil rights groups Education Without Indoctrination and Americans for Peace and Tolerance announced today that they have sent demand letters to the University of Massachusetts (UMass) on behalf of Louis Shenker, a Jewish former student at the UMass Amherst campus expelled for having the wrong beliefs about religion and politics.

One of 300 flyers posted around the UMass Amherst campus at the direction of faculty members, and spread by students on social media.

Last fall, a group of administrators, faculty, and students at UMass Amherst decided that Louis’s “views are not the kind we want to cultivate at the University,” that Louis is “hijacking the Jewish narrative on campus,” but that, because Louis is Jewish, they “have to be very careful and smart in how [they] deal with this problem.” The group devised a plan to get Louis expelled by defaming him as a racist and white supremacist, so that “any subsequent protest about him [being Jewish] will lack credibility.” At the direction of faculty, UMass Amherst graduate student union members posted hundreds of flyers all over campus with Louis’s picture and home address, warning: “ALERT! WHITE SUPREMACIST LOUIS SHENKER UMASS STUDENT.” Photos of the flyers taken at various places around the campus went viral on UMass-connected social media, appended by calls for violence against Louis, like “watch out for this pussy ass bitch, if you see him smack the dogshit out him.”

According to Attorney Karen Hurvitz, executive director of EWI: “What followed was a concerted campaign, massive in scope and motivated by bias against Zionism, Judaism, and unpopular political beliefs, to intimidate Louis into silence, incite violence against him, prosecute him for hate crimes based on false testimony, and have him expelled from UMass Amherst.”

Attorney Ilya Feoktistov, executive director of APT, explained:

“The University of Massachusetts promises all its students a welcoming educational environment free from discrimination. The truth is that this promise applies only to those students who have the kind of political and religious views that university employees ‘want to cultivate at the university.’ Louis never would have agreed to matriculate at UMass Amherst if he had known that all those guarantees of free expression and appreciation for divergent views, which the university gives to students in exchange for their tuition dollars, were fraudulent.”

Louis is battered by UMass Amherst graduate students in front of the student union on the Amherst campus.

To avoid paying treble damages and attorneys’ fees in litigation, the university and its employees must make Louis a reasonable offer of settlement within 30 days from their receipt of the demand letter.

“If they fail to do so,” said Attorney Hurvitz, “they will be sued.”

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