Sunday, November 09, 2014

7th Circuit Upholds Northwestern University's Cut-Off of Chabad House

In Lubavitch-Chabad of Illinois, Inc. v. Northwestern University, (7th Cir., Nov. 6, 2014), the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a claim by Chabad House Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein at Northwestern University that his rights under 42 USC Sec. 1981 were violated when the University ended its affiliation with Chabad House because of underage student drinking there. Section 1981 bars racial discrimination in making or enforcing contracts. The disaffiliation resulted in non-renewal of the rabbi's contract to supervise kosher food supplied to Northwestern. The court concluded:
[T]he only discrimination ... alleged is that the university staff did not take the same measures against student organizations that it did against the Chabad house, even though, as is well known, excessive (and underage) drinking is common in such organizations, notably fraternities. But unlike Chabad houses, fraternities are not managed by adults and are components of the university rather than separate entities merely affiliated with it. And the fraternity drinking incidents to which Klein refers occurred before the current vice president of student affairs assumed office, so leniency regarding such drinking was the policy of a different decision‐maker.