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CUNY professor cleared of racism complaint from DEI official, says he will continue to fight back


‘I will continue to pursue retaliation charges against the university for subjecting me to this injustice’

A City University of New York professor recently said he plans to continue to “pursue retaliation charges” against his employer after it sat on a report clearing him of racism and sexism complaints for eight months.

Professor Jeffrey Lax stood accused of “discrimination based on race, gender and immigration” from Professor Lili Shi. He shared a copy of the letter that affirmed he had been cleared of charges against him.

Lax (pictured) initially filed a complaint against Shi in August 2022 after Kingsborough Community College appointed her to a “diversity, equity and inclusion” committee to find a new assistant DEI dean.

“The position was created, in part, to tackle antisemitism on campus, per a job listing that remains on LinkedIn, though none of the committee’s seven members was Jewish,” Jewish News Syndicate reported in February 2023. Shi then filed a complaint against Lax and another professor, Michael Goldstein.

Shi had previously signed a statement in support of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. “Ironically, Lax’s grievance was turned over to Saly Abd Alla, CUNY’s chief diversity officer and a former civil-rights director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations,” JNS reported. The school eventually agreed to have an outside attorney investigate Lax’s complaint.

Lax, who leads a pro-Jewish group called S.A.F.E. CUNY, alleged the complaint from Shi came in reaction to his criticism of antisemitism at the school. Lax is currently suing CUNY for discrimination against himself and others, which he alleged is grounded in antisemitism. S.A.F.E CUNY told The Fix via an X message that Goldstein had also been cleared.

“All I did was stand up to antisemitism,” he wrote. “For doing so, I was subject to a deeply stressful and retaliatory investigation and then was deprived of even being told of my exoneration for all these many months.”

“CUNY has known that I was cleared of all charges since late February/early March 2023,” he alleged.

He wrote Oct. 5 on X:

Nearly one year ago –and to my utter shock– CUNY placed me under investigation for having the temerity to file an antisemitism complaint that, in small part, connected to BDS activists being put in charge of hiring antisemitism DEI officers on my campus.

CUNY hired an outside investigative firm who completed their findings nearly 8 months ago. CUNY repeatedly refused to turn over the investigation’s findings to me.

Today, however, I finally received the below letter, completely exonerating me of all charges in what was a despicably retaliatory investigation that should have never been commenced to begin with.

He stated he “did nothing wrong” and promised action against CUNY.

“We must all stand up to persecution of Jews who stand up to antisemitism, or it will never end,” Lax stated.

Editor’s note: The article headline was updated. The article also has been updated with comment from S.A.F.E. CUNY.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.