NYC council members hold hearing on antisemitism in city’s public colleges

Luke Tress is an editor and a reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

New York City council members hold a hearing to denounce antisemitism at the US city’s public colleges and call for action from university leadership.

Advocates and Jewish groups accuse the City University of New York (CUNY) school systems administration of neglecting widespread antisemitism at its 26 colleges.

CUNY’s chancellor, Felix Matos Rodríguez, canceled his appearance at the hearing at the Committee of Higher Education at the last minute, the second time he has put off his attendance. No administrators from CUNY attend in person.

Five council members are in attendance out of 51 in the council, and a couple dozen protesters gather in front of city hall.

“Him not showing up is perpetuating the antisemitism we’re talking about,” Council Member Inna Vernikov says of the chancellor. “What a sham. What an insult to the Jewish community.”

Faculty and students are set to address the lawmakers about their experience of antisemitism on campus. Three CUNY administrators are tuning in via Zoom.

Committee chair Eric Dinowitz shares anecdotes about antisemitism on campuses. Jewish students who were praying were called “dirty Jews,” he says, with no response from the administration. In other cases, students called for violence against Jews, or spoke in favor of Adolf Hitler.

One former professor, who declines to share her name due to concerns about work opportunities, says CUNY fired some Jewish professors last year, around the time of the Gaza conflict, without providing a reason.

“I know a lot of faculty who are disgusted with what they’re doing,” she says.

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