CUNY system denies allegations
A Jewish advocacy group called, the “Students and Faculty for Equality at CUNY,” recently released a 13-page report that detailed the widespread antisemitism within the City University of New York system.
The group stated in its report, titled “How CUNY Became the Most Systemically Antisemitic U.S. University in Just Two Years,” that while the CUNY system used to be welcome to Jewish individuals, the “landscape at CUNY began to dramatically change” about a decade ago.
“Campuses started to sharply cut recruiting visits to New York City’s Jewish schools, and some eventually eliminated visits to these schools entirely–even those adjacent to their campuses,” the report stated. “Advertising in Jewish media outlets was reduced or eliminated even on campuses with extremely dense surrounding Jewish populations.”
Just last month, the “total elimination of all Jews from the 80 campus president and senior leadership positions was complete,” the group found. This is despite the fact New York City is approximately 20 percent Jewish.
The report claimed that the leadership officials at the university are “infected” and are “proud champions” of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group. The group criticized Chancellor Felix Rodriguez’s support for CAIR, which endorses “boycott, divestment and sanctions” against Israel.
The BDS campaign “operates as a coordinated and sophisticated effort to disrupt the economic and financial stability of the State of Israel, and to directly harm not only Israel, but also the economic interests of persons conducting business in and with Israel, or with people deemed too closely affiliated with the country,” according to SAFE CUNY.
The College Fix reached out to a CUNY spokesperson for an official comment on behalf of the college and what it plans to do about the accusations.
“This misleading report, which is littered with factual inaccuracies and inflammatory accusations, is designed to malign our system, and ignores CUNY’s consistent and ongoing efforts to counter the violence, hate, antisemitism and racism that can creep into our campuses, our country and the world,” the spokesperson told The Fix via email.
The spokesperson went on to say that “CUNY is also proud of its 175-year history educating New Yorkers of all faiths, including members of the Jewish community.”
The university has not responded to a follow-up email sent in the last week that asked for specific examples of factual inaccuracies and if it could confirm there are no Jewish individuals among the top leadership positions.
In a private email that SAFE CUNY obtained, the chancellor wrote that “[CAIR MN director’s work] is consistent with our university’s commitment to foster an environment of inclusion and respect for each other.”
The Jewish advocacy group noted that the chancellor failed to show up to not one, but two city City Council meetings “scheduled to probe allegations of widespread antisemitism across CUNY.”
The Fix reached out to Jeff Lax, a spokesman at the SAFE CUNY campus group to ask for an update and what the possible solutions are.
“[We] are demanding that CUNY immediately cease pushing widely rejected antisemitic definitions of antisemitism (The JDA) on its Jews and instead formally adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism, which is widely accepted and adopted by over 1,100 entities,” Lax told The Fix via email.
He pointed The Fix to a recent op-ed that he published detailing how CUNY has “successfully completed a yearslong initiative to expunge all Jews from its senior leadership.”
It also discusses that the chancellor incorporated the CAIR-endorsed definition of antisemitism into CUNY’s discrimination process which acts as a “smokescreen.”
There is currently a lawsuit against the union that represents CUNY professors from individuals who accuse it of using dues to promote “anti-Israel” views.
The College Fix reported on this and detailed the complaint that was made against the Professional Staff Congress union by six CUNY professors, five of whom are Jewish.
The professors are challenging New York state’s law that forces them to pay dues and associate themselves with the union, despite their opposition to its political stances.