A Rutgers University professor accused of posting anti-Semitic rants on his Facebook page will lose his role as a director and no longer will be allowed to teach required classes, the school announced.
Michael Chikindas, a professor in the food science department, reportedly posted dozens of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel comments on his page over several months, as Fox News has reported.
One of his posts said the Armenian genocide was orchestrated by Jews, for example. Although the professor claimed his Facebook page was hacked, he did not deny sharing some of the images, comments and cartoons considered to be anti-Semitic.
Rutgers President Robert Barchi, who previously said the professor’s posts were protected by “academic freedom,” said in a Dec. 8 statement to the university community that Chikindas no longer will teach required courses and will be removed from his post as director of the Center for Digestive Health at the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health.
Chikindas, a professor at Rutgers since 1998 who earned tenure in 2007, will undergo cultural sensitivity training and will be “subject to ongoing monitoring if and when he returns to the classroom,” Barchi said.
“This has been a sad and deeply troubling situation for our students and our staff, and for our faculty, who stand for much nobler values than those expressed by this particular professor,” Barchi told the university in his statement.
The university also is seeking further disciplinary action through procedures required by Appendix H of the collective bargaining agreement with its faculty union.
“While the university is and should always be a place that challenges students to grapple with complex and even controversial ideas, this situation has threatened the trust between professors and students that is a prerequisite to learning.”
He continued: “It is our hope that we can navigate these difficult conversations together and that, having been tested by these challenges, we can emerge stronger and with renewed appreciation of our common bonds.”
Chikindas did not return an email seeking comment on this latest development from NJ.com, but he told the outlet in October:
“I do not identify myself as anti-Semite. It is my lifelong credo that all people are born equal regardless of their ethnicity, religion and wealth. I am equally intolerant to all forms of racism, without any exclusions,” Chikindas said via email. “The pictures I shared from other Facebook pages were not removed by the Facebook mediators which made me think they are not violating any rules while raising a question of possible racist nature of Zionism.”