Three Columbia University deans were permanently removed after engaging in a text exchange that “disturbingly touched on ancient antisemitic tropes.”

The announcement was made in messages from Columbia University president Minouche Shafik and provost Angela V. Olinto.

Shafik wrote, “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.”

Olinto said three staff members were permanently removed from their positions and will remain on leave. The Hill reported that the three deans were Cristen Kromm (undergraduate student life), Matthew Patashnick (student and family support) and Susan Chang-Kim (vice dean and chief administrative officer).

A fourth staff member, Dean Josef Sorett, “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 said the office will launch antidiscrimination training for both faculty and staff, including on antisemitism. She said she would also work closely with Jewish community leaders and develop sustained engagement and programming with them. Though the three deans were removed from their positions, CNN confirmed they are still employed with the university.

The text exchange was first reported on by the Washington Free Beacon.

There was a May 31 panel focused on Jewish life on campus and during the panel, four administrators texted each other about the panel. Panelists were sharing difficult experiences Jewish students have on college campus. A person took photographs of the text messages, which is how the outlet obtained the messages.

The disturbing rise of antisemitism on elite U.S. campuses

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce released copies of the text messages as well.


The text messages included Patashnick saying, “He knows exactly what he’s doing and how to take full advantage of this moment. Huge fundraising potential.” Chang said that this “comes from such a place of privilege.”

Chang also said, “This panel is really making the administration look like jokers.” And Kromm used two vomit emojis after seemingly referencing an op-ed published by the Columbia campus rabbi, soon following up the remark with “Amazing what $$$$ can do.”

After the House committee had obtained the text messages, committee chairwoman Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., issued a statement.

“Jewish students deserve better than to have harassment and threats against them dismissed as ‘privilege,’ and Jewish faculty members deserve better than to be mocked by their colleagues,” said Foxx. “These text messages once again confirm the need for serious accountability across Columbia’s campus.”

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