Jewish professor gets her day in court against Pittsburgh university

Federal judge says there’s sufficient evidence to proceed with Prof. Channa Newman’s lawsuit alleging Point Park University discrimination.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Professor Channa Newman’s lawsuit against Pittsburgh’s Point Park University was cleared to proceed by a federal court, the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle reported on Friday.

Newman, a Holocaust survivor who has U.S., Israeli and Czech citizenship, is a professor of French and cultural studies and chair of Point Park’s department of humanities and social sciences. She has worked at Point Park since 1964.

Two years ago, Newman sued the university for employment discrimination, saying she has been “shunned” and “isolated” at work because she is Jewish and Israeli.

Her complaint accuses fellow academic Robert Ross of using his position as a professor of literary arts and social justice studies to promote the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.

Specifically, Newman claims that Ross and others at Point Park sought to remove her from her position because she does not share their “militant and hateful views against Israel,” thus creating “a hostile work environment.”

In his ruling on Newman’s claims of employment discrimination, federal Judge Mark Hornak concluded that the facts Newman presented were “sufficient to plausibly show that at least some similarly situated employees engaged in sufficiently ‘nearly identical’ misconduct,” the Chronicle reported.

The ruling also said there was enough information for Newman to continue pursuing her claim of employment discrimination based on her age, sex, religion and national origin, along with her claim of unlawful retaliation.

Ziporah Reich, co-counsel for Newman, said, “Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for university professors to be vilified, shunned, harassed and retaliated against, simply for objecting to anti-Zionist agendas that are being peddled by their peers under the pretense of teaching human rights.”

“This is part of a larger campaign that seeks to squeeze out Jewish professors in order to eliminate opposition to anti-Jewish curriculums,” she added.

Reich is director of litigation for The Lawfare Project, a U.S. non-profit that protects the civil rights of Jews.

She called the ruling “one small step on the path to justice.”