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Three Columbia University administrators have been “permanently removed from their positions” after sending a series of derisive text messages during a panel discussion on Jewish life on campus, the university’s chancellor announced Monday.

In an accompanying letter, Columbia President Minouche Shafik wrote that the texts echoed anti-Semitism and vowed to launch an “intensive training program on anti-Semitism and anti-discrimination” in the fall when classes resume.

“This incident revealed behavior and sentiments that were not only unprofessional but also disturbingly touched on old anti-Semitic stereotypes,” Shafik said in an email to the campus community Monday morning. “These sentiments are unacceptable and deeply disturbing. They convey a lack of seriousness toward the concerns and experiences of members of our Jewish community.”

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A fourth dean who was involved in one of the text message exchanges apologized and also acknowledged that the conversations were “reminiscent of anti-Semitic stereotypes.”

The text messages – sent during the panel in late May and first reported last month – downplayed reports of anti-Semitism on campus and suggested that a Hillel official was using them for fundraising. They have drawn attention and condemnation from lawmakers and Jewish leaders and renewed calls for action to combat anti-Semitism at the Ivy League university, which has seen vocal pro-Palestinian activism and a series of anti-Semitism allegations since war between Israel and Hamas broke out on Oct. 7.

The three deans at the center of the group chat — Susan Chang-Kim, associate dean and the university’s top administrative officer, Cristen Kromm, dean for undergraduate student life, and Matthew Patashnick, assistant associate dean for student and family support — were placed on leave shortly after the text messages first surfaced.

Now, Rector Angela V. Olinto said in a statement: “The three affected employees have been permanently terminated from their positions at Columbia College and are currently on leave.” The statement did not elaborate on whether this meant the deans had been terminated, and Columbia did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.

“President Shafik and I look to the College administration to make concrete changes in combating anti-Semitism and discrimination and creating a fully inclusive environment,” Olinto said. “I look forward to working closely with the leaders of Columbia College, leaders of our Jewish community, and partners across the University in fulfilling this critically important part of our mission.”

Columbia College Dean Josef Sorett will also participate in the action, Olinto said. He also participated in a separate text exchange with Chang-Kim during the same panel. In an email to Columbia College on Monday morning, Sorett acknowledged that “some of the text messages exchanged may be reminiscent of anti-Semitic stereotypes.”

“I am deeply sorry that this happened in a community that I lead and that I was involved in any of the conversations,” Sorett said, adding that he had reached out to all of the panel speakers and apologized.

It is unclear whether Sorett will face disciplinary action for his involvement, but more than 1,000 Columbia alumni have signed a petition calling for his dismissal.

“Sorett’s actions explicitly endorse a culture of anti-Semitism and demonstrate his faulty judgment, lack of character, and inability to lead at a critical time for Columbia,” the petition states. “Sorett is completely discredited in the eyes of alumni and students. His continued service as dean of Columbia College is untenable.”

The text message exchange occurred while administrators were participating in a panel discussion titled “Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present and Future” on May 31. The panel featured a Jewish student, Columbia Hillel director Brian Cohen and two other panelists discussing anti-Semitism at the school after Oct. 7.

“Coming from a place of so much privilege,” Chang-Kim wrote. “It’s hard to hear that pain is happening to me, we need to sit down at the Kraft Center,” referring to Columbia’s Jewish student center where Hillel is housed.

“Yep. Blind to the idea that Jews who don’t support Israel have no place to come together,” Kromm replied.

While Cohen was talking about the students’ efforts to get attention, Kromm wrote, “Amazing what $$$$ can do.” At another point during Cohen’s speech, Chang-Kim wrote, “He’s such a problem!”

Patashnick wrote: “He knows exactly what he is doing and needs to take full advantage of this moment. Huge fundraising potential.”

In a separate exchange, Chang-Kim wrote, “He’s our hero,” in an apparently sarcastic message about Cohen. Nine minutes later, Sorett wrote, “Lmao,” an acronym for laughter, although it was unclear if this was a response to Kim or something else. He did not respond to a request for comment at the time.

Some of the text messages were initially photographed by an audience member sitting behind one of the administrators during the panel and first published by the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news outlet. The House Committee on Education and Workforce, which is investigating anti-Semitism at Columbia and other universities, later obtained the full text message exchange and published it.

In addition to Cohen, panelists included former law school dean David Schizer, who co-chairs the university’s anti-Semitism task force, Rebecca Massel, a student journalist for the campus newspaper Columbia Spectator, and Ian Rottenberg, director of the university’s Center for Religious Life.