Rutgers Demotes Professor Who Wrote Anti-Semitic Facebook Posts
A tenured professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey has been removed from teaching and leadership positions after he was found to have written or shared several anti-Semitic remarks on his Facebook page.
An internal investigation found that Michael Chikindas, a professor in the Department of Food Sciences, “posted extensive bigoted, discriminatory, and anti-Semitic material on social media,” university president Robert Barchi and chancellor Deba Dutta wrote Friday in a letter to faculty.
Chikindas had blamed Jews for the Armenian genocide, posted anti-Semitic memes depicting Jews as hook-nosed merchants, and called Judaism “the most racist religion in the world.” The material was first uncovered by the blog Israelycool.
“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,” the letter said.
As a result, Barchi and Dutta wrote, Chikindas will no longer teach required courses, has been demoted from his position as the director of Rutgers’s Center for Digestive Health and will be required to undergo sensitivity training and be subjected to “ongoing monitoring.”
Barchi and Dutta also wrote that the university would be “seeking further disciplinary action” through procedures agreed to by the faculty union.
Rutgers has one of the largest Jewish student populations in the country, with approximately 6,400 Jewish undergraduates, according to the Forward College Guide.