Rutgers punishes prof for anti-Semitic social media posts
Rutgers University has announced that it will take disciplinary action against a professor who made several aggressively anti-Semitic social media posts.
In a statement issued Friday, Rutgers President Robert Barchi and Chancellor Deba Dutta confirmed that Michael Chikindas will no longer teach required university courses, and will also be removed as Director of the Center for Digestive Health.
"This situation has threatened the trust between professors and students that is a pre-requisite to learning."
In addition, the professor will have to undergo cultural sensitivity training, and may face further disciplinary measures in accordance with the university’s collective bargaining agreement with the faculty union.
As reported by Israellycool, Chikindas had posted and shared a series of aggressively anti-Semitic social media posts, including one saying “These jewish [sic] motherf*****s do not control me” in response to an article called “The Globalists: Who Control Us!”
Another post depicted American soldiers holding up a chair with an Israeli on it, who proceeds to declare, “I am God’s chosen people, you filthy goyim,” while one of the soldiers asks, “And we’re supposed to die for this guy?”
According to NJ Advance Media, however, Chikindas denies that some of the anti-Semitic material was posted by him personally, claiming that his Facebook was hacked.
"As a result of my account being hacked, I cannot say with confidence that everything on my page was shared by me: There is a good chance for some things being placed on my page by those who hacked my account," Chikindas said, though he did acknowledge responsibility for some of the posts.
"The pictures I shared from other Facebook pages were not removed by the Facebook mediators which made me think they are not violating any rules while raising a question of possible racist nature of Zionism,” the professor explained.
After investigating the matter, though, Barchi and Dutta concluded that “the fears and concerns expressed to us and many university leaders are both justified and understandable,” necessitating action to rebuild “trust” with students.
“While the university is and should always be a place that challenges students to grapple with complex and even controversial ideas, this situation has threatened the trust between professors and students that is a pre-requisite to learning,” the statement concluded.
Miriam Waghalter, an Honors College student at Rutgers, told Campus Reform that “I am glad that the University is taking action on Professor Chikindas” because “it is very important for the University to send a clear message that discrimination is not tolerated at Rutgers.”
While Waghalter believes that “more can be done” to address the matter, she acknowledged that “the University wants to be careful in making sure that everything that is done is done in a way that does not violate freedom of speech.”
Rena Nasar, the New York City-area coordinator for StandWithUs, a non-profit Jewish education group, said in a statement to Campus Reform that the group is pleased with the action taken against the professor.
"While we were concerned about previous statements made by the Rutgers administration, we are glad they did the right thing in the end," Nasar said. "I'm proud of the students at Rutgers who stood up and sent a clear message that racism and homophobia have no place on campus."
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