United States

Columbia University student sues school over suspension over alleged ‘fart spray’ attack

A Columbia University student who served in the Israeli armed forces is suing the Ivy League institution after he was suspended for using “fart spray” during a pro-Palestinian protest, while also accusing the school of selectively enforcing its policies to protect students. 

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in a New York federal court and states that the student, referred to as “John Doe,” previously served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The complaint said the university rushed to punish the plaintiff for his conduct at a demonstration, while turning a blind eye to pro-Palestinian rallies filled with antisemitic rhetoric, the complaint said. 

The student, who was described as a Jewish Hispanic immigrant who holds dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship, attended a Jan. 19 “divestment now” rally that was held on campus.


“As a harmless expression of his speech, he sprayed into the air a novelty, non-toxic ‘fart’ spray named ‘Liquid A–’ and ‘Wet Farts’ which he purchased on Amazon for $26.11,” the lawsuit states. “Almost instantly, the University rushed to silence Plaintiff, placed him on interim suspension from the University, and published a statement to the University community which accused Plaintiff of a hate crime and placed Plaintiff’s safety in grave jeopardy.”

When the student sought help from the school after receiving antisemitic and death threats, Columbia remained silent, the lawsuit said. In addition, he has been doxxed and branded as a criminal.

The plaintiff also had to allegedly leave his apartment and distance himself from loved ones, according to the complaint. 

Days after the spray incident, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul backed a New York Police Department investigation into the matter. 

“They’re doing the right thing to find out exactly what happened and get all the facts,” she said. “And if necessary, I want the perpetrator charged with a hate crime — or at minimum some form of assault — because that’s not acceptable.” 


Pro-Israeli demonstrators attend a counter-protest at Columbia University

In addition to the suspension and probe into the matter, the complaint lists a number of alleged antisemitic incidents at the school going back decades, and accuses university administrators of failing to protect Jewish students following the Oct .7 Hamas attack on Israel. In the months since, anti-Israel protests have been held on campus where demonstrators have called for an “Intifada,” “Jewish Genocide,” while chanting various antisemitic slogans. 

After ther spray incident, Columbia Interim Provost Dennis Mitchell issued a community-wide memo in which he said the NYPD was investigating what appeared to be “serious crimes, possibly hate crime.” 

Mitchell also said some students sought medical treatment after they caught some of the spray. 

Columbia Protest

“The claim by pro-terror Columbia students that they were sprayed with a ‘biochemical weapon’ in a ‘terrorist attack’ was a lie. They were sprayed with a $10.99 novelty fart spray off Amazon,” the student’s attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, told Fox News Digital. 

Students who claimed to have been injured collected thousands of dollars after creating fundraising pages, the complaint said. Columbia’s reaction to the incident and the subsequent “biased investigation” has “severely delayed” the suspended student’s graduation date and will “permanently impact and derail his future,” the lawsuit states. 

The student is seeking unspecified damages. A university spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit to Fox News Digital, citing its policy on pending litigation. 

Read the full article here