Three Columbia Staff Removed From Posts Over Antisemitic Allegations

Chase Smith
By Chase Smith
July 8, 2024New York
Three Columbia Staff Removed From Posts Over Antisemitic Allegations
People wait in line to enter Columbia University in New York on April 30, 2024. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Three Columbia University staff members have been permanently removed from their positions and are on leave due to their involvement in some text messaging that has been characterized as anti-semitic, Columbia University officials announced on July 8.

“The three staff members involved have been permanently removed from their positions at Columbia College and remain on leave at this time,” Columbia University Provost Angela Olinto said in a statement on Monday.

Columbia University President Minouche Shafik and Ms. Olinto addressed the campus community on Monday about incidents that occurred during a Reunion Weekend event in late May.

Specifically, Ms. Shafik referred to “troubling” and “unprofessional” text messages between several senior administrators of Columbia College.

The texts, exchanged during an event, titled “Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present, and Future,” were found to include sentiments that Ms. Shafik said were “ancient antisemitic tropes.”

In a message to the community alongside Ms. Olinto, Ms. Shafik expressed deep regret and condemned the behavior, emphasizing that such sentiments are antithetical to the university’s values.

“Whether intended as such or not, these sentiments are unacceptable and deeply upsetting, conveying a lack of seriousness about the concerns and the experiences of members of our Jewish community that is antithetical to our University’s values and the standards we must uphold in our community,” Ms. Shafik said in the statement.

Four Deans Involved in Antisemitism Message Exchange

The university did not directly mention the names of the three university officials involved, and The Epoch Times cannot independently verify their identities.

A previous action taken by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce mentioned that four deans were involved in the antisemitic message exchange.

While releasing the text messages, House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) mentioned that the messages came from four deans: the vice dean and chief administrative officer of Columbia College Susan Chang-Kim, the dean of undergraduate student life Cristen Kromm, the associate dean for student and family support Matthew Patashnick, and the dean of Columbia College Josef Sorett.

Ms. Chang-Kim, Ms. Kromm, and Mr. Sorett are still listed as “officers” of the Columbia University administration. The profile webpage of Mr. Patashnick has been removed.

Mr. Sorett has since acknowledged his participation in the message exchange and apologized.

“I am deeply sorry that this happened in a community that I lead and, that I was part of any of the exchanges, and I pledge to spearhead the change we need to ensure this never happens again,” he said on Monday.

Ms. Olinto wrote in her statement she would be working with Mr. Sorett “to mend relationships, repair trust, and rebuild accountability.”

From The Epoch Times