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Awad v. Fordham University

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FIRE filed an amicus curiae brief in the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, supporting petitioner-respondents Ahmad Awad, Sofia Dadap, Sapphira Lurie, and Julie Norris. These students sought to register a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Fordham University, but administrators denied their registration in spite of the chapter’s approval from the university’s student government. In doing so, Fordham violated its commitments to freedom of expression and association as well as its established rules for club recognition.

In August 2019, the students won in the trial court; in December of 2020, the appellate court reversed that decision. Our brief argues that by breaking its own rules in denying recognition to SJP because of its viewpoint, Fordham violated Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules — which binds even private universities in the state. We urge the court to reverse the appellate court’s ruling against these students and affirm that Fordham is bound to its rules and commitments not only in policy, but also in practice.

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