A Columbia University student is suing the conservative organization Accuracy in Media after his photo was displayed on a mobile digital billboard paraded around campus under the headline “Columbia’s Leading Antisemites.” The suit comes amid growing pressure on the university administration to provide legal support for students targeted by the organization.
Yusuf Hafez, a senior and a member of the men’s soccer team, was one of dozens of students AIM singled out after six student organizations signed a letter placing on Israel the onus for the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, according to the lawsuit. But AIM falsely identified Hafez as the president of the Arab cultural group Turath, which signed the letter; he has not been a member of Turath since May.
“Plaintiff is concerned that his academic career and future employment prospects are now at risk, as well as his safety, due to Defendants’ unlawful, outrageous and defamatory conduct,” the suit reads. Hafez has also left campus and has been taking remote classes due to the “emotional and physical distress” he accused AIM of causing.
The group’s founder, Adam Guillette, drove a “doxing truck,” as the vehicle has been dubbed, around Columbia’s Manhattan campus last month, with the faces of students belonging to the signatory groups prominently displayed. Hafez’s lawsuit also names Guillette as a defendant.
Hafez’s name was listed on two websites AIM purchased to publicize the students who signed the letters—including the domain www.yusufhafez.com, which called him an antisemite. As of publication, his name had been removed from one site and his namesake domain had been taken down.