New effort to provide pro bono legal services to Jewish students facing antisemitism
Hillel International, ADL (the Anti-Defamation League), the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP today announced the Campus Antisemitism Legal Line (CALL), a free legal protection helpline for students who have experienced antisemitism. With antisemitism on campus reaching all-time highs since Oct. 7, this new resource comes at a critical moment for the Jewish community.
Any student, family, faculty, or staff member can go to the CALL website or text “CALLhelp” to 51555 to report incidents of antisemitic discrimination, intimidation, harassment, vandalism, or violence that may necessitate legal action. Lawyers will assess reports of antisemitic discrimination and hate, conduct in-depth information-gathering interviews, and provide pro bono representation for victims who choose to move forward with specific cases. CALL will also provide referrals to social services, mental health counseling services, and other relevant support services in their area.
A legal team from ADL, the Brandeis Center, Hillel International, and Gibson Dunn will guide overall strategy and coordinate volunteer lawyers from other leading firms including Gibson Dunn and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. CALL invites volunteer lawyers from other firms and companies, as well as other organizations, to join in this effort.
Supporting organizations include Alpha Epsilon Phi, Alpha Epsilon Pi, the American Jewish Committee, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Jewish on Campus, the Jewish Federations of North America, JGO: The Jewish Grad Organization (formerly JGSI), the Israel on Campus Coalition, the Israeli-American Council, Masa, Olami, the OU Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus, Sigma Alpha Mu, Sigma Delta Tau, and Zeta Beta Tau.
“Since the brutal terrorist attack on Israel on Oct. 7, there has been an alarming rise in antisemitism and hate directed toward Jewish college students,” said Adam Lehman, Hillel International President and CEO. “Alongside building flourishing Jewish campus communities and educating university presidents and leadership, this is an important tool for reducing campus antisemitism. Every student deserves to pursue their studies and live their full college experience in a safe and secure campus environment — and Jewish students are no exception.”
Hillel International’s recent survey of Jewish college students shows that more than half polled (56 percent) say they feel scared on campus. In addition, one-in-four Jewish students (25 percent) say there has been violence or acts of hate on their campus since the war began; and only half of those who say there has been hate or violence say they are satisfied with their university’s response.
“We don’t need a cancel culture on campus. We need a consequences culture,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director. “No longer will anyone be able to harass Jewish students with impunity, and no longer will a university or school be able to just look the other way.”
While college campuses have become a hotbed of antisemitism, rising hatred against Jews goes beyond universities. Preliminary data from the ADL Center on Extremism indicates that from Oct. 7-23, reported incidents of harassment, vandalism, and assault increased by 388 percent over the same period last year.
“The frightening incidents we’re seeing on campus today did not start on Oct. 7. They are a direct result of far too many universities failing in their legal responsibility to promptly, publicly and forcefully address the anti-Semitism that has been simmering on their campus for years. This explosion of Jew hatred was foreseeable and preventable. It’s high time for universities to enforce the law and protect their Jewish students.” said Alyza D. Lewin, president of the Brandeis Center.
The Brandeis Center, which has filed and resolved numerous federal anti-discrimination complaints with the Department of Education, has heard from more Jewish students in the past three weeks than in the last year combined.
“We are honored to partner with the ADL, The Brandeis Center, and Hillel International to provide victims of antisemitism on campus with free and timely access to counsel,” said Barbara Becker, Gibson Dunn Chair and Managing Partner. “There is no place for antisemitism, racism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind in a just and humane society. We believe it is our responsibility and privilege to provide free legal services to communities in need, and this collaboration will serve that mission and help keep students safe.”
ADL is the leading anti-hate organization in the world. Founded in 1913, its timeless mission is “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of antisemitism and bias, using innovation and partnerships to drive impact. A global leader in combating antisemitism, countering extremism and battling bigotry wherever and whenever it happens, ADL works to protect democracy and ensure a just and inclusive society for all. More at www.adl.org.
About Hillel International
Founded in 1923, Hillel has been impacting the lives of Jewish college students for 100 years. Today, Hillel International is a global organization that welcomes students of all backgrounds and fosters an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning, and Israel. As the largest Jewish student organization in the world, Hillel builds connections with emerging adults at more than 850 colleges and universities. During their formative college years, students are inspired to explore, experience, and create vibrant Jewish lives.
About the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law
The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law is an independent, unaffiliated, nonprofit corporation established to advance the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and promote justice for all. LDB engages in research, education, and legal advocacy to combat the resurgence of anti-Semitism on college and university campuses, in the workplace, and elsewhere. It empowers students by training them to understand their legal rights and educates administrators and employers on best practices to combat racism and anti-Semitism. The Brandeis Center is not affiliated with the Massachusetts university, the Kentucky law school, or any of the other institutions that share the name and honor the memory of the late U.S. Supreme Court justice. More at www.brandeiscenter.com.
About Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is a leading international law firm. Consistently ranking among the world’s top law firms in industry surveys and major publications, Gibson Dunn is distinctively positioned in today’s global marketplace with more than 1,800 lawyers and 20 offices, including Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Brussels, Century City, Dallas, Denver, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Orange County, Palo Alto, Paris, San Francisco, Singapore, and Washington, D.C. For more information on Gibson Dunn, please visit our website.