Columbia’s Jewish Alumni Association Calls for ‘Staff Overhaul’ To Reverse University’s Antisemitism

The announcement comes as several Columbia deans are being investigated for exchanging antisemitic texts.

Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images
Anti-Israel protesters demonstrate near Columbia University on February 2, 2024 at New York City. Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Columbia’s investigation of several college deans embroiled in an antisemitic texting scandal isn’t enough to fix the school’s underlying problems, members of Columbia’s Jewish Alumni Association, who instead are demanding a “staff overhaul,” say. 

The Jewish alumni group described the University’s efforts to investigate the deans as “too little too late” and declared the need for “fundamental change” at Columbia, starting with “an overhaul of the faculty and staff perpetuating this crisis,” in a statement this week.

They cite antisemitism as “a regular, defining feature of life on Columbia University’s campus” adding that, “so too, unfortunately, is the University’s shameful denial that it exists.” 

Throughout the week, the group pledges to post “specific examples of why we are now convinced that nothing short of a staff and faculty overhaul is required to restore Columbia’s legacy,” on the X social media platform, adding that, “As alums, WE HAVE THE RECEIPTS.” 

One such post details an incident in which a professor used a student’s essay about a museum honoring suicide bombers during the Second Initifada to “pursuade” the student to be “in favor of the Palestinians” rather than commenting on the students’ actual writing skills. 

Another alumni claims that students would rip off flyers regarding Jewish events or write “Palestine” across posters of Israel, adding, “There were never any consequences.” 

The searing posts come as Columbia deans Susan Chang-Kim, Cristen Kromm, and Matthew Patashnick face scrutiny for allegedly sending dismissive and unsympathetic text messages about Jewish students while attending a panel discussion on antisemitism on campus. 

The texts include a series of vomit emojis sent by Ms. Kromm to describe a Columbia University rabbi’s recent op-ed on antisemitism on campus and Mr. Patashnick’s message that Columbia Hillel Director Brian Cohen was taking “full advantage of this moment” for its “fundraising potential.”

Pictures of the damning texts were taken by an attendee of the panel and published in the Washington Free Beacon, prompting Columbia to place the administrators on leave and open an investigation. 

The panel was held as Columbia’s administration has faced mounting criticism for failing to protect its Jewish students amid the ongoing anti-Israel protests which included an encampment on the college’s lawn.

“Instead of making the campus safer for Jewish students, administrators and professors mock, ridicule, and gaslight them that the problem we all see isn’t a problem at all,” the Jewish association wrote. 

The New York Sun

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