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Three members of Columbia University’s hierarchy were “permanently removed from their posts” after a leaked text exchange showed them participating in a conversation that “touched on old anti-Semitic topoi.”

The text exchange occurred during a meeting in May at the Ivy League university where Jewish students described the anti-Semitism they experienced on campus following Hamas’s brutal attack on Israel on October 7.

The trio have been placed on leave, according to a letter from Columbia President Minouche Shafik and University Chancellor Angela Olinto sent to members of the school community on Monday.

The three people affected are former Assistant Dean for Student and Family Support Matthew Patashnick, Assistant Dean and Chief Administrative Officer Susan Chang-Kim, and former Dean for Undergraduate Student Life Cristen Kromm.

The conservative media outlet Washington Free Beacon first reported on the existence of the exchange in June.

The meeting was titled “Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present, and Future” and took place on May 31.

Parts of the text messages of the three deans released by Congress last week

In the text messages that have since been released, Chang-Kim’s words can be found: “Coming from such a privileged position… it’s hard to hear that I’m the one who suffers. We have to huddle together at the Kraft Center. Huh??”

Kromm responds, “It’s amazing what you can do with $$$$,” while discussing an op-ed published in the school newspaper, the Columbia Spectator.

The news was later released as part of an investigation by the House Committee on Education and Workforce.

Columbia College Dean Josef Sorett was also present in the text thread, but did not participate as much.

“This incident revealed behavior and feelings that were not only unprofessional but also touched on old anti-Semitic stereotypes in a disturbing way,” Shafik told the school community.

“Whether intended or not, these sentiments are unacceptable and deeply disturbing. They convey a lack of seriousness about the concerns and experiences of members of our Jewish community that is at odds with the values ​​of our university and the standards we must uphold in our community.”

Republican Congresswoman Virginia Foxx told the Columbia Spectator that removing the three institutions in question does not go far enough, as the “elite institutions” are rotting and anti-Semitism is as widespread as ever. “Students deserve better.”

Susan Chang-Kim, Vice Dean and Chief Administrative Officer of Columbia College
Cristen Kromm, Dean of Student Life
Matthew Pataschnick, Columbia University’s associate dean for student and family support
The emergence of the texts has sparked a storm of outrage on campus, which has been rocked by months of anti-Israel protests in the wake of the war with Hamas.
The school was surrounded by camps of protesters demanding that the school sever its ties with Israel.

In the next academic year, staff will undergo training on anti-Semitism, Shafik wrote in her letter.

“While this disturbing incident has presented challenges to us as a community, Columbia’s leadership team recognizes this as an important moment to implement changes that will ultimately result in a stronger institution,” the controversial president said.

“I know you all share this commitment.”

An open letter from Columbia University alumni, students and staff demanding action against the officers has garnered nearly 2,000 signatures.

Josef Sorett, dean of Columbia College whose text messages were among those published by the Free Beacon, will continue to lead the college after apologizing and pledging to work to repair the damage caused by the text messages, Olinto said.

He and his government are expected to “bring about concrete changes in the fight against anti-Semitism and discrimination and create a fully inclusive environment,” Olinto wrote.

“Although not intended as such, some of the text messages exchanged may be reminiscent of anti-Semitic stereotypes,” Sorett said in a letter to the Columbia College community on Monday.

“Any language that demeans members of our community or divides us from one another is simply unacceptable.” “I am deeply sorry that this happened in a community I lead – and that I was part of any of the conversations, and I vow to drive the changes we need to ensure this never happens again,” Sorett continued.

He said: “The loss of trust and the pain this incident has caused, particularly to the Jewish members of our community, must be fully remedied.”

Just a month before that text message conversation, Colombia was at the epicenter of nationwide protests against Israel’s war in Gaza.

The protesters had occupied the administrative building known as Hamilton Hall before being violently evicted by the New York Police Department.

At that time, Republican lawmakers in the Big Apple published a letter calling on Shafik to resign as president.

When she arrived at Columbia last year, Shafik was the first woman to assume the role of president and one of several women newly appointed to the leadership of Ivy League institutions.

With her experience in finance (rather than academia), she joins a growing number of university leaders who do not have an academic background.

After completing her Masters at the London School of Economics, she earned her PhD from Oxford University. She rose through the career ladder at the World Bank, eventually becoming the bank’s youngest vice president in history.

Shafik also worked at the UK Department for International Development and then at the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of England before becoming director of the London School of Economics.