No one heard student yell ‘Zionist pig’ at faculty member, Brooklyn College finds
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No one heard student yell ‘Zionist pig’ at faculty member, Brooklyn College finds

Investigation into February 16 protest finds student called council chair Yedidyah Langsam ‘Zionist’ or ‘Zionist Jew’

East quad of Brooklyn College, in New York City. (Gabriel Liendo/Wikimedia Commons)
East quad of Brooklyn College, in New York City. (Gabriel Liendo/Wikimedia Commons)

Brooklyn College said no witnesses could corroborate media reports that one of its students called a Jewish faculty member a “Zionist pig” during a protest at a faculty meeting.

Other students, however, did use the word “Zionist” in addressing a member of the faculty and chanted “Zionists out of CUNY” or a “similar” statement during the protest.

The college, part of the City University of New York, released a statement Friday summarizing the findings of its investigation into the protest, conducted by the college’s Office of Judicial Affairs and Office of Legal Affairs.

On Feb. 16, students disrupted a meeting of the college’s Faculty Council, a policy-making body, and made various demands.

The day after the protest, a faculty member who wished to remain anonymous told JTA students had called the Faculty Council chairman, professor Yedidyah Langsam, a “Zionist pig.”

The investigators could not substantiate that account. “Contrary to allegations reported to the media, no witness heard the phrase ‘Zionist pig,’” according to their statement.

The investigation found that a student called Langsam, who was wearing a yarmulke, either a “Zionist ” or a “Zionist Jew,” or, according to one witness, a “Zionist” followed “by another word that the witness did not hear,” the statement said.

“As the meeting adjourned, one of the students departed from their written script and chanted “Zionists out of CUNY” (or a similar statement),” according to the investigators. “It is unclear whether or to what extent other students repeated that chant.”

The college was able to identify four of the students who participated in the disruption and brought disciplinary charges against them for violation of the university’s rules regarding public order, according to the statement.

Two of the students admitted to the charges and received an admonition, whereas the person who shouted the word “Zionist” agreed to “disciplinary probation,” the statement said.

In March, the New York State Senate approved a resolution to cut $485 million in funds for the City University of New York system, saying it was to “send a message” that the colleges were not taking enough action in response to campus anti-Semitism, though some suggested this was an excuse.

The alleged anti-Semitism came to the Senate’s attention in late February, when the Zionist Organization of America sent CUNY Chancellor James Milliken a lengthy letter detailing Jewish students’ complaints of anti-Semitism, including the faculty meeting disruption.

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