Columbia removes three administrators who shared antisemitic texts

July 9, 2024
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Columbia University has permanently removed three administrators who exchanged antisemitic text messages during a May panel discussion about Jewish life on campus, according to announcements from President Minouche Shafik and Provost Angela Olinto.

Shafik said their messages, which included vomiting emojis, shared during a reunion weekend forum called “Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present, and Future,” were “not only unprofessional, but also, disturbingly touched on ancient antisemitic tropes.”

“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,” Shafik wrote.

The administrators—Susan Chang-Kim, vice dean and chief administrative officer of Columbia College; Cristen Kromm, the college’s dean of undergraduate student life; and Matthew Patashnick, associate dean of student and family support—are still employed by the university but have been placed on permanent leave.

Columbia College dean Josef Sorett, who participated in the group text exchange—at one point responding “Lmao” to a comment—will remain in his job.

“He has apologized and taken full responsibility, committing to the work and collaboration necessary to heal the community and learn from this moment, and make sure nothing like this ever happens again,” Olinto, the provost, wrote, adding that Sorett also reached out to members of the campus Jewish community for their partnership.

“Dean Sorett and I will work together to mend relationships, repair trust, and rebuild accountability,” she said.

More than 1,400 alumni and community members have signed a petition that calls for Sorett’s removal as well.



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