Columbia University administrators removed after alleged antisemitic texts revealed

The incident occurred in May during an alumni reunion weekend event. The administrators involved exchanged texts that were later leaked to the public.

Edric Robinson

Jul 9, 2024, 6:47 PM

Updated 5 days ago

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In a shakeup at Columbia University, three top administrators have been permanently removed from their positions following the revelation of a controversial text exchange that took place during a panel on Jewish life.
The incident occurred in May during an alumni reunion weekend event. The administrators involved—Susan Chang-Kim, formerly the vice dean, Cristen Kromm, the dean of undergraduate student life, and Matthew Patashnick, associate dean for student and family support—exchanged texts that were later leaked to the public. These messages have been criticized for being unprofessional and touching on antisemitic themes.
The House Education and Workforce Committee, led by Chairwoman Virginia Foxx, released the full transcripts of the text exchange earlier this month. Texts in this chain included remarks where Jewish issues were described as "coming from a place of privilege" and accusations that officials were using concerns about antisemitism as a fundraising tactic.
In response, President Minouche Shafik and Provost Angela Olinto addressed the issue, condemning the behavior. Shafik stated, "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.”
The university has taken decisive action by permanently removing the involved administrators. Additionally, it has implemented new antisemitism and antidiscrimination training for faculty, staff, and students, set to begin this fall. A fourth dean, Columbia College Dean Josef Sorett, was a part of the text exchange. He has apologized for his role in a letter posted on the school's website.
Despite his involvement, it appears Sorett will retain his position. He has pledged to lead efforts to rebuild trust and combat discrimination within the university community.


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