Columbia University administrators have been removed from their positions due to sending text messages that contained antisemitic content during a forum about Jewish issues in May. The university president, Nemat Shafik, expressed her dismay over the disturbing nature of the messages, calling them unacceptable and deeply upsetting. The administrators have been placed on indefinite leave and will not be returning to their previous roles.

The sentiments in the text messages were deemed to be in violation of the university’s values and standards, showing a lack of seriousness towards the concerns of the Jewish community. The removal of the administrators came after photos of the text messages were published on a conservative website, sparking outrage and leading to their suspension.

The incident occurred amidst ongoing unrest at Columbia University surrounding the conflict in Gaza, with the university becoming a focal point for nationwide protests. Pro-Palestinian demonstrations resulted in the arrest of students on trespassing charges, as well as the occupation of a campus building. These events, combined with security concerns, led to the cancellation of the main commencement ceremony in May.

The administrators involved in the text message exchanges, including Cristen Kromm, Matthew Patashnick, and Susan Chang-Kim, have not yet provided any comments on the situation. The university community has been urged to uphold values of respect and inclusivity, and to condemn any form of discrimination or hate speech.

The removal of the administrators serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding principles of tolerance and understanding within academic institutions. It also highlights the need for ongoing education and awareness regarding antisemitism and other forms of discrimination. By taking decisive action in response to such incidents, universities can reaffirm their commitment to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all members of the community.