San Francisco State University has hired a new Jewish Student Life Coordinator, a position that has been vacant for about 2½ years. The post was mandated by a settlement reached in 2019 after two Jewish students alleged discrimination by the university, and weeks before a trial began.
Danille Hoffer, who took office this month, is responsible for creating and overseeing what the university’s CampusMemo calls “culturally appropriate programs and services” to support Jewish students on campus.
Sasha Joseph was first in the role when she was hired in June 2019, but left after just six months, according to university spokesperson Kent Bravo.
According to an SFSU newsletter, the school conducted a nationwide search for a replacement.
Ziporah Reich, an attorney for the Jewish civil rights organization Lawfare Project, which filed the lawsuit in 2018 that led to the settlement, said the New York-based company pressured the university to fill the vacancy.
Reich said SF State actually hired Hoffer in October 2021, “but there were issues beyond the university’s control that prevented the coordinator from starting work until August 3, 2022,” he said. she declared.
Volks v. Board of Trustees, 2018 lawsuit, alleged discrimination and civil rights violations “sanctioned by high-ranking university officials”. It was filed by attorneys for the Lawfare Project and Chicago-headquartered Winston and Strawn LLP on behalf of the two students, citing a 2017 incident in which San Francisco Hillel-affiliated SFSU students were excluded from Know Your Rights, a campus lounge designed for marginalized groups.
Filed in state court in San Francisco, the lawsuit follows a similar effort the previous year in federal court that was unsuccessful.
As part of the settlement, SFSU agreed to several improvement measures, including the creation of the position of student life coordinator, and issued a public statement that the university would support “educational efforts to promote diversity of points views (including, but not limited to, pro-Israel and Zionist views)” and that he understood that “for many Jews, Zionism is an important part of their identity.”
The school also agreed to order independent investigations into all complaints of religious discrimination, as well as conduct an external review of campus procedures related to the enforcement of anti-discrimination policies and the student code of conduct.
Hoffer worked for six months in 2020 as a member of the American Jewish Committee and three months in 2019 as an intern for the American Zionist Movement, according to his LinkedIn page.
According to SFSU’s CampusMemo, she’s originally from Toronto and graduated in 2017 from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., and went on to earn a dual master’s degree in public administration and Hebrew and Judaic studies from the University. from New York in 2021. both academically and religiously in Israel,” the memo adds. “In her spare time, she enjoys reading, receiving, knitting and following Twitter chats.”
SFSU’s public relations office declined to make Hoffer available for an interview.
“It is important that there is now a resource person that Jewish students at SFSU can turn to to help them deal with the anti-Semitism they encounter,” said attorney Aaron Stiefel of Arnold. & Porter, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm working with Project Lawfare to ensure SFSU’s compliance with the 2019 regulations. “