Students pressure Rutgers to discipline anti-Semitic prof
Students at Rutgers University are calling on the school to take action against a professor who allegedly made overtly anti-Semitic comments on social media.
The petition, “Standing Against Anti-Semitism at Rutgers,” has gained over 2,101 signatures and will be delivered to the Rutgers President Robert Barchi, Chancellor Debasish Dutta, and the Rutgers administration. Additionally, the petition calls on the university to suspend Professor Michael Chikindas pending a formal university investigation.
"Everyone who I have discussed this situation with has been appalled."
Last week, anti-Semitic Facebook posts by Prof. Michael Chikindas came to light, including one saying that, “these jewish [sic] motherf*****s do not control me. They can go f**k each other in their fat a***s - you see, I really do not have anything to loose [sic], hence nothing to be controlled.”
“We, Jewish students at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, are deeply concerned regarding Professor Michael Chikindas’ public attacks against Jews, the LGBT community, and the State of Israel,” the petition begins.
The petition thanks Rutgers for being a place where Jewish students can succeed in many ways, noting that “Rutgers has the largest population of Jewish undergraduates in America is testament to Rutgers’ success in creating a space for a diverse group of students to learn together.”
While the petition recognizes Chikindas’s right to free speech, and supports the university's commitment to the First Amendment, it questions whether Chikindas’s teaching abilities might be affected by his anti-Semitic views.
“Such hateful and discriminatory images and words compromise a faculty member’s ability to serve in that role,” the petition states. “Faculty are the heart and soul of the university. If they are not held accountable when they promote racism and prejudice, then hatred and division will grow, to the detriment of our students, our beloved university, and our whole society.”
Petitioners say they are grateful that the university released a statement condemning the professor’s posts, but say that the statement is not enough and must be followed by action.
Campus Reform spoke with Miriam Waghalter, the creator of the petition, who said that she “decided to make the petition because we want to demonstrate to Rutgers that we will not tolerate such bigotry on our campus.”
“Everyone who I have discussed this situation with has been appalled,” she said, adding that she hopes the university will suspend Chikindas until a formal investigation is finished.
“Even though it has been a rough week, Rutgers is still an amazing place of diversity and thriving Jewish life,” she noted. “There are few universities in the country that are better for Jewish life on campus.”
A spokesperson for Rutgers University told Campus Reform that there has been no change in Chikindas’s status at the university.
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