Campus Reform | Report: Leftist profs meet on Shabbat so orthodox Jewish colleague can’t attend

Report: Leftist profs meet on Shabbat so orthodox Jewish colleague can’t attend

Faculty at a City University of New York campus scheduled a meeting on a Friday night so that professor Jeffrey Lax would miss the meeting, according to the New York Post.

In one report, a witness alleged that “left wing people didn’t like [Lax] because he was pro-Trump, pro-Israel, he’s a Zionist, conservative American.”

Professors at a City University of New York school allegedly scheduled a meeting during a Jewish day of rest so that a conservative orthodox Jewish colleague could not attend.

In March 2018, members of the Progressive Faculty Caucus at CUNY’s Kingsborough Community College scheduled a meeting on a Friday night so that professor Jeffrey Lax — who holds orthodox conservative Jewish views  — would have to miss the meeting, according to a report from the New York Post.

Campus Reform obtained the documentation on which the New York Post based its reporting but was unable to independently verify the authenticity of it. Lax, the dean of the college’s business school, later filed an anti-semitism complaint with the college. 

The school tapped law firm Jackson Lewis to investigate the incident, which in turn produced the 90-page report. Three witnesses allegedly confirmed that the meeting had indeed been scheduled on a Friday to exclude Lax.

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One witness said that “left wing people didn’t like [Lax] because he was pro-Trump, pro-Israel, he’s a Zionist, conservative American," according to the New York Post's reporting.

Another said that the meeting was “intended to be discriminatory against [Lax] because he would `bash’ the PFC every time he showed up to an event."

“Although the primary objective was to exclude Lax, the PFC’s decision to schedule the meeting at a time that [Lax] could not attend due to his religious observance had the potential of creating a disparate impact on other Jewish faculty who observe the sabbath who wanted to attend the PFC meeting.”

“Allegations that respondents discriminated against them based on their religion can be substantiated in part… Observance of the Jewish Sabbath was at least part of the reason for the PFC to schedule a meeting on a Friday night,” it concluded.

However, the report also notes that though Lax was treated “differently or less favorably because of his... religion,” witnesses disliked Lax “not because he was Jewish, but rather because of his personality and reputation.”

According to the report, the meeting was originally called to discuss discrimination against LGBT individuals at the school. Lax, however, has spoken in favor of LGBT rights.


Jonah Zweig of Zweig Law Firm, who is representing Lax, told Campus Reform that “the Progressive Faculty Caucus (PFC), a faculty group at Kingsborough Community College, engages in anti-Semitic behavior toward Orthodox Jewish faculty and students. CUNY retained an outside law firm which came to this exact conclusion.”

 

According to Zweig, the PFC “specifically scheduled events on the Jewish Sabbath to exclude Orthodox Jewish faculty, and admitted doing so. This is a clear violation of the law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion.”

In 2017, the New York Post obtained audio indicating that CUNY KCC’s former interim president had complained about the presence of “too many Jews” on the faculty.

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Campus Reform reached out to CUNY KCC for comment but did not hear back in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft