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Columbia administrators caught mocking antisemitism panel via text messages now on leave

Legislator looking into antisemitism calls one dean’s apology ‘weak’

Three of the four Columbia administrators who were caught mocking a panel on antisemitism in a group text-message chat have now been placed on leave.

According to the Columbia Spectator, Dean Josef Sorett informed staff on Thursday that Vice Dean Susan Chang-Kim, Dean of Undergraduate Student Life Cristen Kromm, and Associate Dean for Student and Family Support Matthew Patashnick were on leave “pending an investigation.”

Sorett also was involved in the text exchanges but thus far remains on campus.

The Washington Free Beacon, which obtained photos of the text messages, noted the admins had “responded with mockery and vitriol, dismissing claims of anti-Semitism and suggesting … that Jewish figures on campus were exploiting the moment for ‘fundraising potential.’”

On Friday, a Free Beacon reporter went to Sorett’s residence to inquire about his role in the messages, which resulted in the dean calling the police. An officer from Columbia Public Safety and another from the NYPD showed up to question the reporter who, once identification was provided, was permitted to leave.

The Columbia officer had “suggested” to the reporter that Sorett “raised a whole big issue” about the reporter’s presence, according to the Free Beacon.

Ironically, Sorett (pictured, lower right) was a signatory to a 2020 faculty letter calling for the NYPD to be defunded by $1 billion.

The Free Beacon also noted Sorett “is further implicated in the texting scandal than originally known.” The dean allegedly responded with “LMAO” to a “sarcastic” text from Chang-Kim calling Columbia Hillel Director Brian Cohen “our hero.”

Despite claiming that the photos of the texts were an “invasion of privacy,” Sorett told the Spectator through a spokesperson “I deeply regret my role in these text exchanges and the impact they have had on our community.”

He added he is “cooperating fully” with the university in its investigation and that he’s “committed to learning” from the incident.

North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx, chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce who’s heading an investigation into Columbia’s handling of antisemitic incidents, called Sorett’s apology “weak” and said it “shows that the school doesn’t get it.”

MORE: Columbia goes remote for rest of semester as virulent anti-Israel protests continue to rock university

IMAGE: Columbia Jewish Alumni Assoc./X

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