Rutgers University removed the culprit behind viciously anti-Semitic statements on Facebook.
By: AP and World Israel News Staff
Rutgers University removed a professor accused of posting anti-Semitic statements on Facebook from his position as a director at the New Jersey school.
Michael Chikindas will no longer serve as director of the Center for Digestive Health at the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health, Rutgers President Robert Barchi said Friday. The tenured food science professor was also barred from teaching required courses and will take cultural sensitivity training courses.
Barchi called the situation “sad and deeply troubling.” He said the university is seeking further disciplinary action against the professor through the faculty union.
Chikindas shared over a period of several months anti-Semitic cartoons along with conspiracy posts that claimed 9/11 was orchestrated by Jews, according to university administrators.
Officials said Chikindas also referred to first lady Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump, daughter of President Donald Trump, as “sluts.”
Administrators said the posts “perpetuated toxic stereotypes” and were upsetting to Jewish students and staff at the university. The professor will be subject to ongoing monitoring “if and when” he returns to teaching, Barchi said.
Chikindas claimed his account was hacked while deniying the posts were anti-Semitic. He previously told NJ.com he does not identify himself as an anti-Semite.
“It is my lifelong credo that all people are born equal regardless of their ethnicity, religion and wealth,” the professor said in October.
Fight Against Anti-Semitism on Campus Continues
The nonprofit Israel education organization StandWithUs praised the university for taking action against Chikindas. The organization said the university “did the right thing in the end.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), which combats anti-Semitism globally, expressed satisfaction that Rutgers University is removing Chikindas.
“Rutgers University’s leadership is finally taking steps to protect its Jewish students from the anti-Semitic bigotry of one of their professors,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, SWC Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action.
“We applaud the Jewish students who stood up against the hate and were proud to work with them,” said Cooper, while expressing hope that “other major American universities who failed to take action against those who have threatened Jewish students will study the Rutgers decision and stop allowing bigots to get a free pass under the cloak of ‘free speech.’”
“While the Center commends the actions of Rutgers University regarding Professor Chikindas it is clear that the employment of anti- Semitic professors on campus does not end with him and the Center will continue to work towards the appropriate handling of all such incidents,” SWC stated.