Columbia chooses not to terminate three deans who pushed anti-Semitic tropes in texts

​Columbia University decided to still employ three deans who were caught complaining about the “privilege” of some Jewish students in text messages, but removed them from their positions.

Susan Chang-Kim, Cristen Kromm, and Matthew Patashnick

Columbia University will still employ three deans who were caught complaining about the “privilege” of some Jewish students in text messages, but removed them from their positions.

The text messages, released by the House Committee on Education & the Workforce, were sent by Columbia College Vice Dean and Chief Administrative Officer Susan Chang-Kim, Dean of Undergraduate Student Life Cristen Kromm, Associate Dean for Student and Family Support Matthew Patashnick, and Dean of Columbia College Josef Sorett.

According to the committee, the text messages were exchanged during an alumni weekend panel on May 31 discussing “Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present, and Future.”

Kromm, in one message, wrote “Amazing what $$$$ can do,” while panelists referred to an Oct. 2023 op-ed on anti-Semitism by Yonah Hain, a campus rabbi.

[RELATED: Columbia admin complain about ‘privilege’ of Jewish students: ‘Amazing what $$$$ can do’]

Patashnick wrote in another message that Brian Cohen, the Lavine Family Executive Director of Columbia/Barnard Hillel, Columbia’s center for Jewish life, “knows exactly what he’s doing and how to take full advantage of this moment. Huge fundraising potential.”

Kromm liked Patashnick’s message and responded “You named it,” while Chang responded “Double Urgh.”

The Columbia Spectator reported Monday that Chang-Kim, Kromm, and Patashnick were removed from their positions and will “remain on leave at this time,” Columbia University President Minouche Shafik and University Provost Angela Olinto said.

“This incident revealed behavior and sentiments that were not only unprofessional, but also, disturbingly touched on ancient antisemitic tropes,” Shafik wrote. “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.”

Sorett will not be removed from his position and is cooperating with the investigation into Chang-Kim, Kromm, and Patashnick.

[RELATED: Jewish Columbia alumni call for ‘overhaul’ at the school to combat anti-Semitism]

According to the committee, while panelists discussed the importance of Jewish students having a space at the Kraft Center for Jewish Life, Patashnick wrote, “Laying the case to expand physical space!”

”They will have their own dorm soon,” Patashnick remarked.

Chang jumped in, writing that the panel discussion “comes from such a place of privilege.”

”Yup. Blind to the idea that non-Israel supporting Jews have no space to come together,” Kromm said.

”Trying to be open minded to understand but the doors are closing...,” Chang wrote.

House Committee on Education & the Workforce Chairwoman Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) wrote that the text messages highlight the need for accountability.

“Jewish students deserve better than to have harassment and threats against them dismissed as ‘privilege,’ and Jewish faculty members deserve better than to be mocked by their colleagues,” Foxx said. “These text messages once again confirm the need for serious accountability across Columbia’s campus.”

A Columbia University official told the New York Post that the institution is “committed to combatting antisemitism and taking sustained, concrete action to ensure Columbia is a campus where Jewish students and everyone in our community feels safe, valued, and able to thrive.”

[RELATED: Columbia anti-Israel activists set up rocket plastered with face of university president]

The Washington Free Beacon initially reported on several of the text messages.