Anti-Semitic Rutgers professor to be disciplined

President, Chancellor of Rutgers University remove anti-Semitic professor from required courses, leadership position.

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Rutgers President Robert Barchi
Rutgers President Robert Barchi

Rutgers University's Professor Michael Chikindas will be disciplined for anti-Semitic remarks made earlier this year on social media, The Jewish Link reported.

In a letter to faculty members, Rutgers University's President Robert Barchi and Chancellor Deba Dutta wrote that Chikindas "was found to have posted extensive bigoted, discriminatory, and anti-Semitic material on social media."

"This material perpetuated toxic stereotypes and was deeply upsetting to Jewish students, faculty, and staff across our community. The fears and concerns they have expressed to us and many university leaders are both justified and understandable," they wrote.

"This has been a sad and deeply troubling situation for our students and our staff, and for our faculty, who stand for much nobler values than those expressed by this particular professor. 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 prerequisite to learning."

Rutgers students will no longer be required to take a course Chikindas teaches, The Jewish Link reported, and he will be removed from his position as Center for Digestive Health at the Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health Director. In addition, Chikindas will be subject to monitoring and required to participate in a "cultural sensitivity program." The letter also said the university will seek further disciplinary action via Appendix H procedures.

Previously, Barchi defended Chikindas and two other faculty members who expressed anti-Semitic sentiments were praised for their work at Rutgers when Barchi received complaints. Barchi argued that their first amendment right to free speech not only protects them from legal prosecution, but also from termination.

At the time, Barchi admitted that much of what Chikindas said over social media was "repugnant," but insisted that "nothing there…is actionable." Rutgers' thousands of Jewish students saw it differently.